The Road Safety Western Force are back after the bye and back at the ‘Force Field’ nib Stadium, to take on the Chiefs this Saturday, 22 April in Round Nine of Vodafone Super Rugby.
The men from the West are looking to go three wins from three games at home, and will be keen to put in another strong performance in front of the Sea of Blue.
The Chiefs have been dominant against the Force in the past, winning eight of the 10 meetings between these sides, however the Force won the last time they hosted the Chiefs in 2014 in a dramatic finish and the West Australian side then went on to win five games in a row.
The last time these two teams met was a second half blow out, as the men hailing from Waikato showed why they are one of the powerhouses in Super Rugby, taking the win 53-10 in a wet match in Hamilton.
As stated earlier the Road Safety Western Force are coming off a courageous victory against the Kings a fortnight ago, giving them two wins from two games at home. The new style of play really showed against the Kings and the Force will be keen to implement some scoreboard pressure on a strong Chiefs side.
The Chiefs are on their way home after a two-game tour of South Africa where they lost in a thriller to the Stormers in Cape Town, and came from 24-0 deficit at halftime against the Cheetahs to take an incredible victory 41-24.
The Road Safety Western Force have been forced to make a host of changes due to injury, with 11 of the current squad on the injury list. Speedster Luke Morahan comes back into the fold starting on the wing, and local WA product Luke Burton makes his first start since Round 12 2015. The Force have also had to call on Scottish lock Lewis Carmichael, who comes into the second row and will make his Vodafone Super Rugby debut.
The Chiefs head into the match relatively unchanged from their tour of South Africa, apart from welcoming back their captain and champion flanker Sam Cane, who walks back into the starting number seven jersey. The Chiefs’ backline has been electric the past few weeks, led by veteran flyhalf Aaron Cruden and the likes of James Louwe and Shaun Stevenson on his outside, there is plenty of strike power at the Chief’s disposal.
Defense will be paramount for the home side tomorrow night, as they try to limit linebreaks and stop the Chiefs from recycling quick ball at the breakdown. A strong defensive line, chase line and constant pressure in our own half will be a necessity against an opportunistic Chiefs side.
The forward pack will once again be integral in this match, as the Chiefs boast a monster pack that the Force will need to contain. It’s not just the weight of the front row, but with an all international back row of Sam Cane, Michael Leitch and Liam Messam at their disposal it’s going to be a huge task for the Force to stop them in their tracks.
We have a mouth-watering battle at the inside centre position this week with new All Black Anton Lienert-Brown going head-to-head with new Force superstar Bill Meakes. Both men have been in solid form and have a knack to straighten the defense and create gaps for teammates on the outside.
Meakes was back to his best against the Kings, running smart lines and was a tackling machine in defense, constantly causing havoc at the breakdown.
Lienert-Brown is pushing his case for All Black selection, as he continues to produce consistent 80-minute performances and doing everything he can to help his side win the four points.
Road Safety Western Force v Chiefs
nib Stadium, Perth
Saturday, 22 April 2017
Kick-off: 5:45PM AWST
Broadcast: Fox Sports 501