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'A few of us didn't have our best game out there': The explanation behind the Western Force's major changes for Friday


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Western Force coach Tim Sampson says his players are still filthy over their first-round flop and want to make amends when they take on the struggling NSW Waratahs in Sydney on Friday night.


The Force were thumped 27-11 by the Brumbies in Perth in round one, adding further pain to a side that failed to win a single game in last year’s Super Rugby AU competition.

Force players stewed over the Brumbies loss during last week’s bye and they’re desperate to make amends when they front up against the Waratahs at Bankwest Stadium.

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“The guys are hungry, I can see it,” Sampson said.

“It’s been a nice build over each session. We were filthy with that result last game out and I think there is still a bit of fire in the belly from that performance.

“The players are desperate for a win. It’s been a long time for us winning a game. I think you’re going to see two teams going hard at it tomorrow night and show a lot of desperation to get the W.”

The Waratahs are arguably even more desperate for the win given their horror start to the season.


NSW were thumped 41-7 by the Reds in round one, before being pummelled 61-10 by the Brumbies last week.

Sampson says his team need to be on guard for a fierce backlash.

“The Waratahs will be firing on all cylinders. They’ll start with a lot of energy,” Sampson said.


“When you suffer losses like that you work harder on your craft.

“They’ll be on point this week. They would have worked on their set piece this week, no doubt.

“We’ve got to assert some dominance there up front and we’re going to go at them through the forwards.”

Force skipper Ian Prior has been relegated to the bench in order to give Argentinian international Tomas Cubelli a starting role.

Prior was pragmatic about the demotion.

“We were disappointed with how we played against the Brumbies and a few of us didn’t have our best game out there,” Prior said.

“There’s plenty of competition for spots and that’s represented in the selections made.”

No.8 Brynard Stander will captain the side on Friday night.

Western Force: Rob Kearney, Byron Ralston, Tevita Kuridrani, Richard Kahui, Toni Pulu, Jake McIntyre, Tomas Cubelli, Brynard Stander (c), Kane Koteka, Tim Anstee, Fergus Lee Warner, Jeremy Thrush, Santiago Medrano, Feleti Kaitu’u, Tom Robertson. Reserves: Andrew Ready, Angus Wagner, Greg Holmes, Ryan McCauley, Tomas Lezana, Ian Prior, Domingo Miotti, Marcel Brache

– Justin Chadwick

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'A few of us didn't have our best game out there': The explanation behind the Western Force's major changes for Friday