Force coach lauds side’s efforts at breakdown

2014-05-12 00:00

WESTERN Force coach Michael Foley has lauded his team’s efforts in the scrums and at the breakdown area following their 23-16 Super Rugby victory over the Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The Force dominated the scrums and breakdowns while also using turnover possession optimally to gain valuable momentum for their next game on their South African tour.

They next face the Stormers in Cape Town next weekend and Foley said the victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, their first since 2009, was mostly due to their ability in the above-mentioned areas.

“I think the guys have been pretty solid in the breakdown area from the start of the season,” Foley said.

“Our loose trio lead from the front against the Cheetahs, but I think everyone on the field was good in that regard. There were times that we had to defend more than we wanted to because we couldn’t get away from our end of the field, but we reacted well to the pressure.

“Our defence, and even our approach at the breakdowns, are a lot about spirit. When people play rugby, they normally play to throw the ball around. Our defence is based on hard work.”

Most of the Force’s points came from turnover possession that came after the Cheetahs made mistakes on the attack, while their dominance in the scrums also contributed to the victory.

“I don’t think you are ever able to anticipate when a side is going to make mistakes. That being said, we did believe if we defended well enough, opportunities would arise from that.

“It took a lot of hard work from the guys up front, particularly in the first half. The guys worked really hard and that resulted in opportunities that we could capitalise on.

“I have to commend all our forwards for their performance in the scrums. It was pleasing to see our reserve front row come onto the field later on and have the same impact.”

The Force coach commended flyhalf Sias Ebersohn and winger Nick Cummins for their individual efforts on the day.

“I am very pleased for Sias. He has worked very hard, much like everybody else.

“There were a few people in our senior management that thought Sias wasn’t the answer, but as we explained, he was a young flyhalf who was still learning. Now he is playing superbly well this year.

“Nick Cummins did very well on defence. He was up against Raymond Rhule, who is a very dangerous player, and did extremely well.”

For Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske it was yet another poor performance by a Cheetahs side that has been struggling throughout the competition.

“We just had no answers for their defence. Even when they were on their own goal line they defended very well. It is another disappointing performance. We also struggled in the scrums and couldn’t get any momentum from a set piece that normally gives us a good platform to work from.”

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