Force bullied at the breakdown
Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:42
We kept beating them to the punch
Western Force coach Michael Foley admitted his team was outmuscled in the set pieces and at the breakdown.
The Force's winning streak came to an end in Melbourne on Friday, as the Rebels hung on for a 22-16 victory.
The Western Australians entered the match on an unprecedented five-match winning streak - following successive victories over the Rebels, Highlanders, Chiefs, Reds and Waratahs.
However, a return leg triumph over the Victorians wasn't to be - with the Rebels capitalising on their superior possession.
The bulk of the Rebels' scoring came through the boot of fullback Jason Woodward (17 points), while the teams scored one try each.
Despite the loss, the Force managed a consolation losing bonus point when wing Nick Cummins went over after the full-time hooter.
Foley said his side's inability to dominate at the scrum and breakdown were pivotal towards deciding the result.
"We weren't able to get enough momentum through the first half of the game and that took its toll through the back end of the match," he said.
"The game was level [6-all] at half-time, but we'd had to do a lot more work than what we really should have, to make up for some of the things we weren't doing proactively.
"We had to reactively defend when we could have been at the other end of the field attacking.
"Last week our line-out was a little bit off and that meant we didn't have a lot of ball to play with; this week a little bit of the work at the breakdown was off.
"It's only fine margins and it doesn't matter who you're playing, they'll get under your guard and have you chasing the game.
"We're disappointed with some of the aspects of that game but watching our reserves come on and play like they did to pull that bonus point back for us was really pleasing.
"The guys are disappointed but we get an opportunity to respond next week; we play the Bulls and that's going to be a massive challenge."
Rebels coach Tony McGahan was pleased with the Rebels' ability to convert in the second half.
However, he admitted there is still plenty of improvement left for the season.
"We certainly knew that with a quality side like the Force you have to do the work for the full 80," McGahan said.
"We just kept pounding away and beating them to the punch and we got reward for effort in the second half.
"We've certainly gathered some confidence over the last five weeks with strong performances against the Crusaders and the Chiefs and the win over the Brumbies.
"Our reviews continually bring up things we need to improve on such as our kicking game and other basics, but rather than our fundamentals we need to work more on our composure and responding to the pace of the game."
The Rebels will enjoy a Round 11 bye, before hosting the Sharks in Melbourne on Friday, May 2.
The Force returns to Perth next week to take on the Bulls, on Saturday, April 26.
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