Force's captain courageous

Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:38
Large matt hodgson signs for fan
Matt Hodgson has been at the club since their inception, meaning he has experienced plenty of lows over the past eight years but things are starting to look up in Perth.
 
Matt Hodgson has been at the club since their inception, meaning he has experienced plenty of lows over the past eight years but things are starting to look up in Perth.
 
He was there when the Firepower collapse cost players six-figure sums.
 
He experienced the 2008 player revolt against then-coach John Mitchell and the subsequent departure of a host of stars.
 
And then there's been the woeful on-field fortunes - eight straight years without a finals berth.
 
But 2014 is shaping as a turning point for the Perth-based franchise, with a three-game winning streak lifting the Force to within two points of third spot.
 
Hodgson, in his second season as captain, has played a key role in the Force's resurgence this season.
 
His two tries were vital in the 18-15 win over the Chiefs, but it's his bone-crunching work at the breakdown that lifts his teammates the most.
 
Hodgson is often bashed and bruised after games, and it's not uncommon for him to have blood oozing out from various places during post-match interviews.
 
Coach Michael Foley has only been at franchise for 19 months, but it didn't take him long to figure out just how important Hodgson was to the set-up.
 
"He means everything to the side," Foley said.
 
"He's been here from day one and he's had to go through difficult times, but he just keeps standing up. He perseveres.
 
"If you think about what he's stood for in the nine-year history of the club, and you see some of the things happening on the field, he's a shining example.
 
"He's probably the main reason why some of that stuff happens."
 
The Force will use this week's bye to freshen up their battered bodies.
 
Last week's gutsy win over the Chiefs came at a major cost, with lock Hugh McMeniman set to miss at least a month of rugby after breaking his collarbone.
 
But scrumhalf Alby Mathewson will be free to help the side chase a franchise-record fourth straight win next week against the Queensland Reds after escaping with a one-week ban for trampling an opponent.
 
In-form No.8 Ben McCalman will also front up against the Reds after serving his ban for a dangerous tackle. 
 
AAP
 
 
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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
SUPER RUGBY
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28