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Thread: Round 9 Western Force v Crusaders

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    Round 9 Western Force v Crusaders

    Eggleston previews Crusaders clash - 'We'll need to be at our best'

    Wed, Apr 17, 2024, 8:52 AM
    Ben Somerford


    Western Force defence coach Will Eggleston says the side will need to be at their best on Saturday night against the Crusaders, despite the visitors’ one-win start to the season.

    The reigning Super Rugby back-to-back champions are sitting 11th on the ladder with one win and six defeats ahead of Saturday’s game from 5:35pm WST at HBF Park. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

    It’s been a period of change in Canterbury, with long-time coach Scott Robertson moving on to take over at the All Blacks, while Richie Mo’unga and Sam Whitelock were among those to exit in the off-season.

    The Crusaders have copped injuries to internationals Will Jordan, Leigh Halfpenny and Scott Barrett along with full-back Fergus Burke, while Ethan Blackadder and Brodie McAlister returned from injuries against the NSW Waratahs last time out.

    But Eggleston was quick to ensure the Force weren’t taking the 12-time Super Rugby champions lightly.

    “They’re a very strong side,” Eggleston told reporters. “People look at where they’re at on the competition ladder at the moment, but make no bones about it, we’re going to have to be at our best on Saturday.

    “They’re not a team that’s coming in here that’s suddenly dropped off a cliff. There’s All Blacks littered through their side.

    “If they’re not All Blacks, they’ve got a lot of Super Rugby caps within that group. We know it’s a great test and we can’t wait.”

    The game also marks the Force’s first encounter at HBF Park since March 23 when they beat the Queensland Reds 40-31 in an impressive display.

    “Really exciting,” Eggleston said about returning home. “We love it there, we love playing in the heat.

    “We love the Sea of Blue coming out and supporting us every week, we can’t wait.”

    The side could be boosted by 95-cap Wallabies utility back Kurtley Beale who signed with the Force during the mid-season bye on an injury cover contract for Harry Potter (ankle surgery).

    The English assistant said Beale would bring plenty to the backline if available and selected for Saturday, having linked up with his new Force teammates for the first time on Monday when training resumed after the bye.

    “He’s settled in really well,” Eggleston said. “When somebody of 95 Test caps becomes available - and we pick up an unfortunate injury like we did with Harry - it’s fantastic for him to be able to add to our young group.

    “He brings a fantastic rugby brain and loud voice. You hear him before you see him. He’ll be great for our group.

    “He’ll put our wingers away nicely. We’ve been creating space in a lot of our games but maybe that last pass hasn’t gone to hand or hasn’t gone where we’d like it to. I think he’ll be able to open up our edges a bit more.”

    Like the Crusaders, the Force may only have one win from their first seven games, but the top-eight race remains open ahead of the second-half of the season.

    The Force are eight points behind eighth-placed Moana Pasifika, knowing a few wins can catapult the side right back into contention.

    “We’re not far away,” Eggleston said. “We’ve spoken about making sure we don’t look too far ahead.

    “As soon as we start looking at who we need to beat, how many points we need to get, is when you get distracted away from what’s really important. And what’s important is putting in a performance in on Saturday night.”

    Tickets are available for Saturday’s night game via Ticketmaster. Kick-off is 5:35pm WST.

    Grab our $75 Force Flexi Membership, 4 games for the price of 3! And if you have a child under the age of 16, bring them along for free! Join here


    Saturday 20 April 5:35 PM AWST – Western Force v Crusaders at HBF Park Perth, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport

    FORCE:

    1. Ryan Coxon
    2. Tom Horton
    3. Santiago Medrano
    4. Sam Carter
    5. Thomas Franklin
    6. Will Harris
    7. Carlo Tizzano
    8. Reed Prinsep
    9. Nic White (c)
    10. Ben Donaldson
    11. Chase Tiatia
    12. Hamish Stewart
    13. Sam Spink
    14. Bayley Kuenzle
    15. Kurtley Beale

    16. Ben Funnell
    17. Marley Pearce
    18. Tiaan Tauakipulu
    19. Izack Rodda
    20. Michael Wells
    21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa
    22. Max Burey
    23. Henry O’Donnell

    CRUSADERS:

    1. Joe Moody
    2. Brodie McAlister
    3. Owen Franks
    4. Quinten Strange
    5. Jamie Hannah
    6. Ethan Blackadder
    7. Tom Christie (c)
    8. Christian Lio-Willie
    9. Mitch Drummond
    10. Riley Hohepa
    11. Macca Springer
    12. Dallas McLeod
    13. Levi Aumua
    14. Sevu Reece
    15. Chay Fihaki

    16. George Bell
    17. George Bower
    18. Fletcher Newell
    19. Dominic Gardiner
    20. Cullen Grace
    21. Noah Hotham
    22. Rivez Reihana
    23. Ryan Crotty

    Referee: Reuben Keane

    Assistant Referees: Graham Cooper, Jeremy Markey

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    Eggleston previews Crusaders clash - 'We'll need to be at our best'

    Wed, Apr 17, 2024, 8:52 AM
    Ben Somerford


    Western Force defence coach Will Eggleston says the side will need to be at their best on Saturday night against the Crusaders, despite the visitors’ one-win start to the season.

    The reigning Super Rugby back-to-back champions are sitting 11th on the ladder with one win and six defeats ahead of Saturday’s game from 5:35pm WST at HBF Park. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.

    It’s been a period of change in Canterbury, with long-time coach Scott Robertson moving on to take over at the All Blacks, while Richie Mo’unga and Sam Whitelock were among those to exit in the off-season.

    The Crusaders have copped injuries to internationals Will Jordan, Leigh Halfpenny and Scott Barrett along with full-back Fergus Burke, while Ethan Blackadder and Brodie McAlister returned from injuries against the NSW Waratahs last time out.

    But Eggleston was quick to ensure the Force weren’t taking the 12-time Super Rugby champions lightly.

    “They’re a very strong side,” Eggleston told reporters. “People look at where they’re at on the competition ladder at the moment, but make no bones about it, we’re going to have to be at our best on Saturday.

    “They’re not a team that’s coming in here that’s suddenly dropped off a cliff. There’s All Blacks littered through their side.

    “If they’re not All Blacks, they’ve got a lot of Super Rugby caps within that group. We know it’s a great test and we can’t wait.”

    The game also marks the Force’s first encounter at HBF Park since March 23 when they beat the Queensland Reds 40-31 in an impressive display.

    “Really exciting,” Eggleston said about returning home. “We love it there, we love playing in the heat.

    “We love the Sea of Blue coming out and supporting us every week, we can’t wait.”

    The side could be boosted by 95-cap Wallabies utility back Kurtley Beale who signed with the Force during the mid-season bye on an injury cover contract for Harry Potter (ankle surgery).

    The English assistant said Beale would bring plenty to the backline if available and selected for Saturday, having linked up with his new Force teammates for the first time on Monday when training resumed after the bye.

    “He’s settled in really well,” Eggleston said. “When somebody of 95 Test caps becomes available - and we pick up an unfortunate injury like we did with Harry - it’s fantastic for him to be able to add to our young group.

    “He brings a fantastic rugby brain and loud voice. You hear him before you see him. He’ll be great for our group.

    “He’ll put our wingers away nicely. We’ve been creating space in a lot of our games but maybe that last pass hasn’t gone to hand or hasn’t gone where we’d like it to. I think he’ll be able to open up our edges a bit more.”

    Like the Crusaders, the Force may only have one win from their first seven games, but the top-eight race remains open ahead of the second-half of the season.

    The Force are eight points behind eighth-placed Moana Pasifika, knowing a few wins can catapult the side right back into contention.

    “We’re not far away,” Eggleston said. “We’ve spoken about making sure we don’t look too far ahead.

    “As soon as we start looking at who we need to beat, how many points we need to get, is when you get distracted away from what’s really important. And what’s important is putting in a performance in on Saturday night.”

    Tickets are available for Saturday’s night game via Ticketmaster. Kick-off is 5:35pm WST.

    Grab our $75 Force Flexi Membership, 4 games for the price of 3! And if you have a child under the age of 16, bring them along for free! Join here


    Team to come...
    Talk on the Roar website that Rodda may be on bench for the game

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    Beale set for Force debut as trio return to face Crusaders

    Wed, Apr 17, 2024, 11:57 AM
    Ben Somerford


    New signing Kurtley Beale has been named to make his Western Force debut for Saturday’s Super Rugby Pacific Round 9 clash with the Crusaders at HBF Park.

    Beale is selected to start at full-back, while Michael Wells and Izack Rodda both are named on the reserves, marking their returns from knee and quad injuries respectively.

    Argentine prop Santiago Medrano returns after missing the Round 7 game against the Blues prior to the bye due to head injury protocols.

    Back-rower Will Harris comes back into the starting XV. Wallabies scrum-half Nic White will captain the side.

    Saturday’s game at HBF Park kicks off at 5:35pm with tickets available via Ticketmaster. The Club will hold its annual Armed Forces game, with a pre-game ceremony.

    The game will be live on Stan Sport, while there will be regular updates @WesternForce on social media.

    The Super Rugby Pacific game will also be preceded by a WA Fortescue Premier Grade curtain-raiser between Kalamunda and Cottesloe from 3:05pm. Gate 1 opens at 2:50pm, with all gates open at 4:05pm.

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    Good looking team. I’m certainly hoping we are going to see Rodda playing.

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    May the FORCE be with you!

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    Senior Player chiraag's Avatar
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    Great to see Rodda and Medrano back - they'll help the pack a lot. Was hoping to see Williams and 1 or 2 of Hoopert, Wagner and Amone back as well though. Our scrum will be under big pressure with the starters up against Moody and Franks, and likely under even more pressure when ours subs come on.

    Not overly happy to see Kurtley dropping straight into the 15 jersey. Really sends the wrong message to Max. If I were him, I'd probably be starting to look for a gig overseas since it's pretty clear they only see him as a back-up option at 10 and 15. We might be in trouble out wide with Tiatia and Beale not being great defensively and Kuenzle not being the quickest, while Sevu Reece was in some scary form last week.

    If we can contain their scrum and wings, we should be in with a good shout of notching a much needed win. GO FORCE!

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiraag View Post
    Not overly happy to see Kurtley dropping straight into the 15 jersey. Really sends the wrong message to Max. If I were him, I'd probably be starting to look for a gig overseas since it's pretty clear they only see him as a back-up option at 10 and 15.
    To be fair, Max hasn't set the world alight at 15 and Potter's efforts while fit made him look second rate.

    I'm personally of the opinion that Beale is second rate as a fullback, 10, 12 and person, but that's not really the crux of my point.

    I don't understand why Cronno has persisted with Max at 15 when he's clearly a 10 and Donno has the attributes to make a pretty good fist of 15 but I'm clearly not seeing everything there is to see.

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    C'mon the

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    Crusaders are junk.

    Force by 10.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jargan83 View Post
    Crusaders are junk.

    Force by 10.
    big call, but I like it!

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    Gareth Chilcott after his last game for Bath in 1993
    “I thought I would have a quiet pint… and about 17 noisy ones.”

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post

    I don't understand why Cronno has persisted with Max at 15 when he's clearly a 10 and Donno has the attributes to make a pretty good fist of 15 but I'm clearly not seeing everything there is to see.
    Early this season I probably agreed. But since, maybe running more on coach's instructions, Donaldson looks a class above @ 10. In the matches, or parts thereof, where the set piece got some parity our backs looked pretty good. Donno taking the line on at times reminded me a bit of Bernie, the way he ghosted through and made the offload. If Beale is anywhere near his best form, he's also a class above and can fill the ball playing 15 hole that Harry Potter's injury has left.

    I'm more hopeful than confident - regardless of form this is still The Crusaders. More heart palpitations are probably on the way. Force by 3.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    Early this season I probably agreed. But since, maybe running more on coach's instructions, Donaldson looks a class above @ 10. In the matches, or parts thereof, where the set piece got some parity our backs looked pretty good. Donno taking the line on at times reminded me a bit of Bernie, the way he ghosted through and made the offload. If Beale is anywhere near his best form, he's also a class above and can fill the ball playing 15 hole that Harry Potter's injury has left.

    I'm more hopeful than confident - regardless of form this is still The Crusaders. More heart palpitations are probably on the way. Force by 3.
    For his Wallaby aspirations Donaldson needs at least a half (ideally a match) at #15.
    I think he is going to be struggling to get a start at #10 this year (East Coast Noah/Carter love) without injury, so needs to up his versatility cred.

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    Super Rugby Pacific Round Nine Preview

    Thu, Apr 18, 2024, 2:17 PM
    Nathan Williamson



    ......


    Saturday 20 April 7:35 PM AEST – Western Force v Crusaders at HBF Park, Perth, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport

    Teams


    FORCE (1-15): Ryan Coxon, Tom Horton, Santiago Medrano, Sam Carter, Thomas Franklin, Will Harris, Carlo Tizzano, Reed Prinsep, Nic White (c), Ben Donaldson, Chase Tiatia, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Bayley Kuenzle, Kurtley Beale

    RESERVES: Ben Funnell, Marley Pearce, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Izack Rodda, Michael Wells, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Max Burey, Henry O’Donnell

    Kurtley Beale starts in his first game for the Western Force
    Will Harris returns to the starting side in the backrow
    Izack Rodda plays his first game of the season, joined by Michael Wells on the bench
    CRUSADERS (1-15): Joe Moody, Brodie McAlister, Owen Franks, Quinten Strange, Jamie Hannah, Ethan Blackadder, Tom Christie (c), Christian Lio-Willie, Mitch Drummond, Riley Hohepa, Macca Springer, Dallas McLeod, Levi Aumua, Sevu Reece, Chay Fihaki

    RESERVES: George Bell, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Dominic Gardiner, Cullen Grace, Noah Hotham, Rivez Reihana, Ryan Crotty

    Macca Springer starts on the wing after a finger injury to Johnny McNicholl
    Joe Moody, Brodie McAlister and Owen Franks form a brand-new starting front-row
    Christian Lio-Willie starts at number eight after his late try against the Waratahs
    Stats
    The Crusaders have won eight of their last nine matches in Super Rugby competitions against the Western Force, including each of their last six
    No other team has scored fewer tries in the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season than the Western Force (19) and Crusaders (20)
    The Western Force have won seven of their last 10 Super Rugby Pacific games at HBF Park, winning every game in which they scored 20+ points on the day in that stretch.

    Key Match Up

    Kurtley Beale v Chay Fihaki

    All eyes will be on the former Wallaby on his debut for the Force

    Beale has not played in Super Rugby since 2020, eager to impress his new side as they look to keep their finals hopes alive.

    As for Fihaki, he needs to recapture the form he has shown in patches in 2024 to turn around the Crusaders' season

    Prediction
    Crusaders by 5

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    Champion andrewM's Avatar
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    I don't think anyone has tipped the Force so a win would officially be an upset.

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    Apart from Jargs and Shasta..

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewM View Post
    Apart from Jargs and Shasta..
    Goog Harrison and Matt Rogers

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    C'mon the

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewM View Post
    Apart from Jargs and Shasta..


    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    Goog Harrison and Matt Rogers
    Fugg.

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