Super Rugby Round 14 - Force v Sharks
Force fell away badly - Michael Foley
May 18, 2013
Charl McLeod of the Sharks is tackled by Nick Cummins and Kyle Godwin, Super Rugby, Round 14, Force v Sharks, nib Stadium, Perth, May 17, 2013
Western Force dished out some heavy defence in the first half but fell away after half-time © Getty Images

Western Force coach Michael Foley pinpointed his side's poor start to the second half as the main reason for their 23-13 defeat by the Sharks in Super Rugby round 14 at nib Stadium on Friday night.

The hosts held a 10-half-time lead at nib Stadium having dominated for long periods of the opening 40 minutes, but they seemed to lose their way after the break and they were eventually undone by a soft try from Riaan Viljoen and the reliable boot of Patrick Lambie.

"I thought it was a very good first half in which some of the rugby we played was as good as we've played all year," Foley said. "But in the second half, I thought we fell away badly, particularly at the start of the half, and I thought that gave them momentum. I think we just went out at the start of the second half and made some errors at the set piece initially, and that allowed them to creep into the game. They are a difficult side to play against once they have that momentum.

"I thought we fought very hard in the first half to control the game and I thought we played some very smart rugby. It didn't all go right, but I thought we made good decisions when it didn't go right and I thought we defended well against a big carrying side. But in the second half, we didn't start well and we chased the game from there."

Foley felt that his side's 10th defeat of a testing campaign provided a stark insight into the harsh realities of Super Rugby, as their errors were punished ruthlessly by a Sharks outfit boasting nine Springboks.

"We will certainly learn from that," he said. "For all of us, there's an overwhelming sense of disappointment because of how well we played in the first half and how well we controlled the game. To let that slip, you feel very disappointed. I think with experience definitely comes those lessons, but it's one of those games that you sit there and wish you could play again. From the second half, we can understand that if we don't get our basics right any side in Super Rugby will take the game away from you very quickly. I thought the Sharks were very good at living off our errors in that second half. Three times we had the ball in their 22 and nearly had the ball over the line but turned it over, and you've got to finish those chances off."

Next up for the Force is a clash with the only side below them on the ladder, the Highlanders, and skipper Matt Hodgson insisted the team would not allow their season to end with a whimper. "We've got nothing to lose," he said, noting the Force play their remaining three fixtures at home. "We need to show that we can play good footy here. We've got a lot of opportunities to do that and we're focusing solely upon the Highlanders now. We've got nothing to lose, so we're going to come out firing."

The Sharks snap a five-game losing streak against Western Force (video available in Australia only)
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