Western Force vs. NSW Waratahs Match Preview - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Western Force vs. NSW Waratahs Match Preview

Western Force vs. NSW Waratahs Match Preview

Yep, we’ve come to the big one. The lads in the podcast have been talking about this match for a while. While this match means next to diddly squat for Super Rugby finals calculations, for the Western Force and the Waratahs, this match means a little more than that. 

The Big Picture

Need I say it? I hope to god it isn’t true, but this may be the Western Force’s last ever game. I seriously hope it isn’t, because they’ve been the only Aussie side even remotely worth watching this year, and have, through their efforts of the team and the fans, really reminded all of us about how important it is to preserve the game in this country. The number of fans coming through the gates in Perth has gone up. TV viewership in Force games has gone up. People actually are showing how much they care about this club.

Saturday’s match is going to be an emotional time for rugby in the West. While they can’t catch the Brumbies, a win here would see them consolidate second place, which would be the first time the club has ever finished runners up in the Aussie conference. Add in the fact they are farewelling the life and soul of their club, Matt Hodgson, and the fact they are fighting for their survival, and I can’t think of many better reasons to be emotionally pumped for this one (And I seriously hope Hodgson’s retirement is not a symbolically foreboding moment either!).

And then, you have the Waratahs. Even Tahs fans won’t be afraid to admit it: they’ve played like garbage for pretty much the whole season. If they lose this match, it will cap off what will be officially the worst season in Waratahs history. If they win, it will be a rare moment of sunshine and cap off their second worst season in their history. This match will also be a chance to farewell club stalwarts Dean Mumm and Rob Horne.

The Form

The Force have won two out of their last three matches, being a big win away against the Reds and a decent home win last week against the Rebels. Their loss was a 12-34 defeat to the Hurricanes at home. Overall, The Force currently are sitting on five wins and 22 points, and sit second in the Australian conference.

The Tahs? God, please don’t remind me. They haven’t won since round thirteen when they beat the Rebels. They had a lot of encouraging moments against the Highlanders and the Chiefs across the ditch, but didn’t take any wins. But let’s be frank. They currently sit in fourth on the Aussie conference with four wins and nineteen points, and more recently have become well known for serving steaming piles of s#*t up to their dwindling fan base at Allianz Stadium. Their notable performances included last week against the Jaguares, or earlier in the season against the Kings. Call me savage. But I’ve got to the point in this god-awful season where it’s time to call a spade a spade.

Key Players

For the Force, there will be three major changes to the side. The biggest and most influential is captain Matt Hodgson, who will come in to his number 7 jersey to play his 140th and final cap for the club. The man is a machine. From start to finish, you can see he inspires everyone else around him. Just having him on the field is going to be a motivator for the entire Force team. Aside from that, the other major player is going to be Michael Ruru. He carved up the Rebels last week and combined well with Billy Meakes to give the Force the win. If he turns up again this weekend the Force will be hard to stop.

Bernard Foley has been off form the last few weeks, and it’s unsurprising that his lack of form has meant the Tahs have been out of sorts. He plays well, and the Tahs will be in it. Nick Phipps will also be returning to the side and starting from the bench. He has the potential to really give the Tahs some go forward in the final twenty minutes if he plays smart.

Prediction

All jokes aside, this is going to be a good match. It will be an emotional event for all concerned. It will come down to who wants it more. The Tahs can win this. So can the Force. And I think the men from the west can bring this one home and give their inspirational captain the send off he deserves.  Force by 7. 


 Force 

1. Pek Cowan
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau
3. Tetera Faulkner
4. Matt Philip
5. Adam Coleman
6. Ross Haylett-Petty
7. Matt Hodgson (c)
8. Isi Naisarani
9. Michael Ruru
10. Peter Grant
11. Alex Newsome
12. Bill Meakes
13. Curtis Rona
14. Marcel Brache
15. Dane Haylett-Petty

Reserves
16. Anaru Rangi
17. Francois van Wyk
18. Shambeckler Vui
19. Lewis Carmichael
20. Richard Hardwick
21. Ian Prior
22. Jono Lance
23. James Verity-Amm

Waratahs

1. Tom Robertson
2. Damien Fitzpatrick
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Ned Hanigan
5. Dean Mumm
6. Jack Dempsey
7. Michael Hooper (c)
8. Michael Wells
9. Jake Gordon
10. Bernard Foley
11. Cam Clark
12. Dave Horowitz
13. Rob Horne
14. Taqele Naiyaravoro
15. Israel Folau

Reserves
16. Hugh Roach
17. David Lolohea
18. Angus Taavao
19. David McDuling
20. Ryan McCauley
21. Nick Phipps
22. Mack Mason
23. Andrew Kellaway

Match Details

Date: Saturday, 15 July.

Venue: Force Field (nib Stadium), Perth

Kick off:  5:45PM AWST, 7:45PM AEST

Referee: Nic Berry (AUS)

Assistant Referees 1: Will Houston (AUS), Graham Cooper (AUS)

TMO : Ian Smith (AUS)

  • muffy

    These are two different changing rooms, the Force can’t wait to get on the field and stay there, while the final whistle can’t come soon enough for the Tahs.

    Can’t wait!

    • Chinese Dave

      For the Tahs’ sake, I’m hoping the Force win this one.

    • ForceFan

      Have just returned from the Force’s Captain’s Run and can confirm that your assessment is 100% correct.

  • formerflanker

    Last game for the Tahs for Horowitz too. Possibly. Perhaps.

  • Duncher

    Gee I hope the Force win.

    The Tahs have been rubbish this year and the Force have been great to watch and the thought of them getting punted from the competition makes me ill…

  • Huw Tindall

    Line the starting 15s up man for man and I reckon the Force have a better side. I’d only put Kepu, Hooper, Clark, and Folau ahead of their Force counterparts. Maybe Gordon over Ruru but close one as Ruru had a great game last week. So that’s at best 10 to 5 in favour of the force. Bench isn’t much different – Shambeckler Vui vs Taavao says it all. Kellaway only bloke who is winning the bench dual there. I’m a Tahs man through and through but I kinda hope the force get this one. On paper they probably should too! There is only so much work Hooper can do by himself!

    • Adrian

      Wanna see Shambeckler play, just to hear his name.

    • Andy

      If you were to pick a back 3 between the teams it would be Penni, DHP and Folau. Not sure Clarke would get a look in tbh.

    • Perth girl

      Hooper better than Hodgson or even Hardwick for that matter? I don’t think so!

  • Shtinatina

    Can’t wait!!

  • Adrian

    Anyone know if Naisarani is eligible for Wallabies?

    • According to his (extensive) wikipedia page and a Fox Sports article he’s only been in Australia since 2015 so he wouldn’t qualify until 2018 at the earliest.

      • Andy

        He’s the best up and coming 6 in the country. I hope he stays here.

  • Adrian

    Probably 10 guys borderline for Wallabies squad in this match. Expect some action from them.

    Probably 7 Wallaby certainties, expext action from a few of them.

    23 Force, expext action from all of them.

    Force by 7 a good prediction, but NSW halves + Hooper + Folau could wreck prediction

    • lee enfield

      Absolutely NSW halves could wreck that prediction……They could cause it to blow out by 14+ in favour of the Force.

  • Pedro

    No Latu again. WTF?

    • Ads

      I think a neck injury…

      • Pedro

        Probably from doing double takes at the team list.

  • Brumby Runner

    Force have a successful strategy for beating the Tahs – keep it tight, fight for every ball and smash them through the forwards. This time, I think they just need to throw it wide to take advantage of the Wallabies’ (sorry, Tahs’) poor defensive structures. Go Force.

  • Keith Butler

    Hope the Force give the Tahs a good shoeing.

  • Hoss

    Tah’s to go side to side to side to side – yawn.

    Coleman and co to go through the middle

    Tah’s, soul-less, rudderless, apathetic, no appetite for hard work and little pride in the collective performance

    Might be close until the Tah’s go to the bench and then the fat lady will start belting out the tunes.

    Force by 18 – and I’am a Tah’s follower !

    • first time long time

      I notice you are a Tah’s “follower” Hoss….. Just like with the Reds, sometimes its hard to call yourself a fan.

      • Hoss

        Yep FTLH – I did type ‘fan’ but deleted it and typed follower and that sums up plenty of us I guess

  • MalachyBernard

    As one who has supported the Waratahs in the past I actually hope The Force wins so that the rotten mess that is the Waratah coaching structure can be destroyed. The Force coach has proven that it is not just a players issue at the Waratahs. Dave Wessels gets by with a lot less and the entire team punches well above it’s weigh.

    I also apologize to Force fans for advocating their departure earlier in the year. They have done plenty to stay. I still stand by my comment for The Rebels to be axed. The results (or should I say lack of) speak for themselves.

    • Perth girl

      Just going out in the rain to help sell bumper stickers. Profits have already paid for one Own the Force share on behalf of Rugby WA Juniors. Plans are also underway to raffle off a Matt Hodgson painting done by a Force member and a raffle of a Matt Hodgson limited edition jumper with all profits going into OTF. Fans are fighting to keep the Force here in Perth

      • 30 mm tags

        Great attitude! Maybe the raffle could be assisted by selling via this forum. There are plenty of Queenslanders who would buy $20 worth or more of tickets.

  • Brisneyland Local

    I want the Tahs to lose, but not because I am anti – tahs, but because I want to see it roved that their defensive coach is not the man for the Wallabies job. This will just provide ammunition.
    Sorry Tahs fans!

NSW Waratahs
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

More in NSW Waratahs