It was deja vu for the Western Force as they were edge out by 1 point against the Cheetahs last Saturday night in Bloemfontein. Although recording yet another defeat against their name this season, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. There were positive aspects from last week’s game that will give them confidence going up against Stormers in Perth this Saturday night.
On the other hand, the Stormers cruised to victory and picked up a valuable bonus point on the road with their 57 to 31 victory against the Rebels. The Stormers’ form this season has been a little inconsistent and now they find themselves in a do or die situation in chasing a finals spot. This is an aspect the Force can capitalize on, by putting the onus back on the Stormers who have everything to lose this weekend in Perth.
Key Match Ups
The Stormers will be wary of being indisciplined in their own half as evinced by Jono Lance’s good goal-kicking form. With Haylett-Petty, Godwin and Lance firing on all cylinders they have the ability to find gaps and exploit good teams in attack.
Defence will also be key, and expect the Force to build into the game from a solid defensive structure. The Force will need to be physical and dominant up front if they want any chance of winning. Expect the Stormers to use their big ball runners in the likes of Burger, Etzebeth, Vermeulen and De Allende to bash the ball up all night.
The Force forwards will be tested in the set piece, and especially in the scrum as the Stormers will likely have the wood over the them. The loose trio for the Force will need to put their hands up and be solid in defense, and also be called upon to make meters over the gain line.
Expect the Force to compete hard in the breakdown, their loose forward trio had a strong performance last weekend and expect much of the same performance this week. Chris Alcock gave Force fans a little taste of what he has to offer and hopefully he can carry his strong game from last week into this Saturday night.
Adam Coleman should return to the starting lineup returning from injury and after a promising debut for Wallabies against England in the June tests.
The feel good story of the night is that Peter Grant will line up for the first time against his former club and teammates. However, don’t expect this encounter to be a love affair. The Stormers are in Perth to win and win big! Local product Richard Hardwick is set make his run on debut for the Force this Saturday night.
If the Force can work themselves into this game from the back of a good defensive platform, they can get their attack going. The Force will need to earn the right to go wide and get Haylett-Petty and Luke Morahan into game. It is paramount that the Force play direct with Godwin, using Cowan, Coleman and other ballrunners as weapons to get over themselves over the gain line.
That being said, the Stormers will be too strong and will win comfortably. Stormers by 10 points.
15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Luke Morahan (captain), 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Angus Cottrell, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Richard Hardwick, 5 Rory Walton, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Harry Scoble, 1 Pek Cowan
Substitutes: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Semisi Masirewa.
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Daniel du Plessis, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk Burger (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, JP Smith, 18 17 Wilco Louw, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Scott van Breda
Location: NIB Stadium, Perth Western Australia
Kick-off: 7:55pm (AWST)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Referees: Graham Cooper, Michael Hogan
TMO: Peter Marshall