Force seek to repeat Rebels rout
March 11, 2014
Western Force showed against Melbourne Rebels what they can do (video available only in Australia only)
Western Force want to prove they're not one-hit wonders, and history will be on their side when they play the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday.
The Force emerged from a fortnight of pain to inflict a devastating 32-7 win over Melbourne Rebels on Saturday night, the lowest-scoring side of 2013 unleashing a four-try blitz inside the opening 27 minutes in laying the foundation for their bonus-point victory. Now their challenge is to back up their attacking onslaught on enemy territory.
But the Force have won their past five games against the Highlanders, with three wins in New Zealand, and Alby Mathewson is confident they will continue the attacking mantra in Dunedin.
"I think we can replicate that," Mathewson said on Monday.
"It's all part of what we want to do. Last year we were really strong defensively so we worked a lot on attack during the pre-season. It's going to be nice conditions because it's an indoor stadium, so we can continue with our style of play. But we want to be consistent. There's no point having a win one week and then dropping off the week after. One sunny day doesn't make a summer as some of us say around here."
The Highlanders enter the game fresh following a bye last week, and Mathewson identified the breakdown as a key area against the New Zealand outfit.
"[Highlanders coach] Jamie Joseph was my coach for five or six years at the Wellington Lions," the New Zealand-born scrum-half said. "He's quite old school but he's a tough man. Defensively he wants the whole team to be physical, and I think they are. NZ teams do like to counter-ruck with their forwards if they get a dominant tackle."