Force to face injury test
Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:50
Five straight wins
Nick Cummins is confident his team's steely new attitude and willingness to work for each other will help them overcome a growing injury toll.
The Force can dare to dream of securing a maiden finals berth after Saturday night's win over the Waratahs propelled them into fourth spot on the Super Rugby table.
However, their latest triumph came at a major cost, with scrumhalf Alby Mathewson (ankle) and wing Luke Morahan (hamstring) set to miss this weekend's clash with the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park.
Fullback Jayden Hayward (personal reasons) is another unlikely starter, while prop Pek Cowan (leg) and lock Sam Wykes (ribs) will be monitored during the week.
Nathan Charles spent a night in hospital after collapsing with exhaustion after the 28-16 win over the Waratahs, but the Force are hopeful the hooker will be fit to tackle the Rebels.
The spate of injuries comes at a bad time for the Force, who are already missing Wallabies enforcer Hugh McMeniman (collarbone), flank Chris Alcock (shoulder) and centre Solomoni Rasolea (broken arm).
The Force were tipped to win the wooden spoon at the start of the year, but the Perth-based franchise is now shaping as the fairytale story of the season following five straight wins.
Cummins is confident the team has the right mindset to be able to overcome their injury woes.
"It's not always about what the names are, but [rather] the feeling and the attitude the culture has brought on," Cummins told the Australian Associated Press.
"Sometimes it's just the mind - if you get that right, everyone performs together.
"There's been some dark times, some medieval times early on [at the Force]. But we've come good now.
"The culture has changed a little bit here, which has brought on belief and a feeling of belonging.
"Everyone's buying into it. That's what's helping us."
Cummins enjoyed the night of his life against the Waratahs, with the Wallabies flyer bagging a hat-trick to secure the win.
The first try was extra special, with Cummins running the length of the field after intercepting a pass just as the Waratahs looked set to score.
But he wasn't the biggest fan of the look on his face as he ran full pelt to the line.
"It looked like someone had asked me to clean the toilet," Cummins said with a laugh.
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