Super Rugby round eight
Western Force disappoint Michael Foley
April 7, 2013
Kyle Godwin was among the few shining lights for Western Force © Getty Images
Western Force coach Michael Foley struggled to find the positives from his side's 30-23 Super Rugby defeat at the hands of Melbourne Rebels on Saturday night. The hosts trailed for almost the entire contest at nib Stadium and committed a series of unforced handling errors to leave Foley deeply frustrated.
"Up to this point, we've had some results that haven't gone our way, but I think the shape of the game for us has been much, much better previously," Foley said. "I'm disappointed with that performance. There were in the vicinity of 20 turnovers from us in that match, and that makes it very hard for you to build pressure. Ultimately, we got pipped and even if we'd got away with a result tonight, I would have felt the same way. That was not a performance consistent with anything we've done this year."
The Force had conceded only two tries in their previous three games coming into the derby clash, but Jason Woodward (two), Richard Kingi and Hugh Pyle all found their way to the tryline for the Rebels; Foley felt that his side inflicted much of the damage upon themselves with careless handling.
"We actually didn't miss many tackles statistically during the game, but with the possession we had, when you turn over ball, that's the hardest possession to defend," he said. "There were a number of times tonight where we gave the opposition the ball from our attack and then our defence has been under enormous pressure. You don't have your defence structured as you would have it from a set piece and I think that's where they caught us a couple of times."
To compound a miserable night for the Perth-based franchise, they lost several key players to injury and could face a major selection reshuffle ahead of next week's home date with the Crusaders.
"We won't know for 24 hours with Hugh [McMeniman]," Foley said. "He picked up an AC shoulder injury and we'll have to wait and see. "Alfie [Mafi] had a cramping in the hamstring and Sias [Ebersohn] got a bump to the head, so again, we'll need 24 hours to understand the extent of those. We lost Kieran [Longbottom] early with a head knock and Salesi's [Ma'afu] knee became inflamed. The scrum was an area we thought we could do well in, but ultimately we ended up with uncontested scrums."
The Rebels were too good for the Force (video available only in Australia)