Can Force measure up in SA?

Fri, 02 May 2014 14:43
Large force celebrate

The Western Force are on form at the moment, but their credentials as play-off contenders looks set to be tested on their South African tour.

The Western Force are on form at the moment, but their credentials as play-off contenders looks set to be tested on their South African tour.

Coming off a win over the Bulls in Perth last week the Force face the Cheetahs and Stormers on their trip to South Africa, and coach Michael Foley knows that both of those matches will present unique challenges.

"The Bulls provided some insight into the next block of games," he said. "However, while we can expect more mauling and clever strategic kicking, the Cheetahs will also play with a lot of width and the Stormers are noted for their defence.

"Playing four South African sides back-to-back is a great challenge for us. The games will be physical and we will need to play with the intensity we achieved in the Waratahs and Bulls games," he said.

Foley has included the match day squad that defeated the Bulls on Saturday, and added lock Phoenix Battye, outside back Patrick Dellit and inside back Luke Burton.

Both Dellit and Battye were a part of the Western Force squad that took on the Rebels in Melbourne a fortnight ago, while Burton re-joins the team from the Australian Under-20 squad.

The 20-year-old, who is yet to make his Asteron Life Super Rugby debut, was vice-captain and starting inside centre for the national U20 side that defeated Samoa U20’s on Wednesday. This will be Perth-born Burton's first tour with the Western Force squad.

"We’re pleased to welcome Phoenix and Paddy back into the squad to provide coverage in the second row and outside backs respectively.

"This is also a great opportunity for Luke to be a part of the Force touring squad for the first time. He joins us from the Australian Us camp and has earnt his selection through the hard work he’s undertaken with the squad over the last 18 months," said Foley.

Western Force squad: Phoenix Battye, Marcel Brache, Luke Burton, Nathan Charles, Adam Coleman, Angus Cottrell, Pek Cowan, Nick Cummins, Patrick Dellit, Sias Ebersohn, Tetera Faulkner, Kyle Godwin, Dane Haylett-Petty, Jayden Hayward, Matt Hodgson (captain), Zack Holmes, Oliver Hoskins, Kieran Longbottom, Ben McCalman, Ian Prior, Brynard Stander, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Heath Tessmann, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Justin Turner, Sam Wykes.

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Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Force 16 3 0 13 19