Michael Foley slams Western Force's travel schedule
May 25, 2014
Force 29-19 Lions (video available only in Australia)
Western Force coach Michael Foley has slammed the Super Rugby scheduling that will see his side play in three different countries inside the space of 14 days.
The Force overcame jet-lag to beat the Lions 29-19 in Perth on Saturday, a week after they lost to the Stormers in Cape Town, and they now have only six days to recover before facing the Crusaders in Christchurch next Friday. They are now fourth on the table, and their match against the third-placed Crusaders looms as one of the most crucial battles of the season.
"It's massive, and made more difficult by the way it's been scheduled with the six-day turnaround," Foley said.
"We travelled from South Africa to Perth, the blokes were under enormous stress to play, and now they are put under further stress by having to fly to New Zealand on Monday on a six-day turnaround. Our guys will front up, because they'll always front up, but the scheduling is not the best."
Nick Cummins performed strongly again for Western Force © Getty Images
Matt Hodgson was the hero for the Force in their win over the Lions, the skipper and recalled Wallabies' flanker crossing for two tries - including the bonus-point fourth score at the death.
The win was the Force's eighth of the season - a record for the Perth-based franchise - and it marked the first time they have notched five successive home victories. The Force now have their sights on a maiden finals berth, but Foley acknowledges there isn't much margin for error with nine teams fighting for a top-six berth.
"Looking at some of the results around us over this round, it's a bit of a bunfight," Foley said. "The Hurricanes smashed the Chiefs; the Brumbies got smashed by the Bulls. There's a lot of see-sawing happening. We've just got to control the things we can control and keep getting the results."
The Force will be bolstered by a host of key returns after the June Test window, with Kyle Godwin, Junior Rasolea, Luke Morahan, Alby Mathewson and Hugh McMeniman set to return from injury for the clash with the Blues in Perth on June 28.
Centre Marcel Brache, who missed the win over the Lions due to an ankle injury, might return against the Crusaders.
"We'll play our hearts out next week, and then the reinforcements will arrive," Foley said.