Super Rugby
Foley backs Hodgson for Rugby World Cup
May 10, 2015
Force 18-11 Waratahs (video available in Australia only)

Western Force coach Michael Foley insists his captain Matt Hodgson deserves to be part of Michael Cheika's Australian squad at the Rugby World Cup. Hodgson was a key figure as the Force snapped a 10-match losing streak with an 18-11 victory over the NSW Waratahs in Perth, scoring a second-half try and putting in a tireless defensive display.

Despite missing the first nine games of the season with a hamstring injury, Hodgson has been outstanding in the last three weeks, saving one of his best efforts for Cheika, the Wallabies and Waratahs coach.

"Matt's a point of difference player but also a point of difference leader," said Foley. "For us, he's our impact player but he does that through leadership as well as his skills. People play better around him and it could be five or 20 per cent, but I always say 10 and he is such an influential person.

"He turns 34 this year and that's a unique thing in Australian rugby. I just think that whether Hodgo is part of a match 23 or just in a wider squad, he is going to have an influence and when you go into a World Cup having a senior player like him there it's going to have an impact across the squad."

Despite the frustrations of having lost 10 matches on the trot and being unable to replicate the form from 2014 that saw them only narrowly miss the finals, Foley is now confident the Force can build on the win over the Waratahs. Coming with the same attitude they took into the win over the defending champions is the key. After the bye, the Force finish their season at home to the Highlanders, Reds and Brumbies, and away to the Melbourne Rebels.

"The performance itself really sits as a good example of what we need to do," said Foley. "There's no doubt that for the last four games our players will clearly understand the frame of mind they were coming in for this game. I'm expecting us to come out here against a very good Highlanders side in two weeks time and show the same attitude. Whatever happens in the result, we want to see the same attitude."

© AAP

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