The Western Force has gone down to the Hurricanes in a blowout affair; with the Hurricanes coming away with a bonus point try on the road after scoring five tries.
The Force’s game changed up from the first two rounds, with the scrum clicking well and the lineout doing slightly better than usual.
However, it was the defence, breakdown and physical play that ultimately let the West Australian’s down, missing countless tackles, with consistent and strong attack only coming in very short bursts.
When the Force were able to get the ball into the opposition 22, the Hurricanes strong defence would push them back behind the advantage line and ultimately cause a turnover.
Western Force coach Michael Foley said it was the contact areas that let his side down in the end.
“I think around the breakdown area, the contact area generally, in the first 20 minutes we looked good,” he said.
“We scrambled a couple of chances they had in our 22, there was some really good defence, we got off the line and spoilt their ball, and from that period on we had opportunities at their end of the field and lost in the contact area.
“Their body height was better than ours in a lot of those contact areas.
“Once you lose the collisions in both attack and defence it’s very hard to get into the game.
“There were times where we had possession and didn’t do anything with it and it was largely around the contact area.
There were times where they had possession, often that was from our turnovers, and that’s the type of possession they most like to have, and they cut us up.”
There was a glimmer of hope in the 77th minute when Mitch Scott broke the line off a pass from Sias Ebersohn, but in the end that was the only genuine chance the Force had at being able to convert five points.
The man of the match for the Force was flyhalf Zac Holmes, who recently took over the number 10 role after being moved from fullback to make room for Luke Burton. He was able to command the offence, threaten the Hurricanes defence and create space through kicking the ball making him a standout amongst a quiet Force side.
Despite the tough loss, Foley believes he is still in charge of a strong side.
“It’s taken some time to build a reputation as a group of fighters, and I think they are a group of fighters,” he said.
“When we have a look back at that game, it’s going to hurt a lot – it hurts now, but I think everybody in the squad will be ready to go come Monday.”
Catch the Force in action next weekend when they take on the Brumbies in Canberra.