Force season already on the line
Wing Nick Cummins sees the Force struggle. Pic: Getty Images

The Super Rugby season is only two games old for the Western Force but already their year is at a crossroad.

Bottom of the ladder after two defeats, they go into their third consecutive Australian derby against the Melbourne Rebels this weekend desperate to stop their season unravelling.

There had been ominous signs in the first-round defeat by the Waratahs. And Force fans saw the problems up close during a first-half Brumbies blitzkrieg at nib Stadium on Saturday night.

Force second-rower Hugh McMeniman was carried from the ground on a stretcher with a neck injury late in the first half of the 27-14 defeat.

McMeniman has been cleared of serious injury but the Australian Rugby Union and the Force finally confirmed yesterday that he will leave for Japan at the end of the season.

He was contracted to the Force until the end of next season but his ARU deal runs out later this year and he couldn't agree on terms for another one after 10 months of talks.

Force coach Michael Foley must put that issue aside and fix the on-field problems quickly.

He admitted some of the first-half issues could "potentially be attributed to attitude" as the relentless Brumbies ran in three tries in 20 minutes.

"Once the opposition gets a couple of tries on you, the mood tends to drop a little bit," he said.

"We gave them a lot of leg-up early in the game, from there, how you feel and how you go about your work is compromised.

"We don't have any excuses for that.

"We regrouped at half-time and won the second half, but if you give a good team like the Brumbies a start, it's going to be a hard day at the office."

Foley has to rethink the conservative game plan that creates limited attacking options.

His side was unable to break through in midfield and was too predictable elsewhere.

They did not make a clean line break until the 60th minute and it took 10 minutes for the ball to get into the Brumbies' half - and that was from the Force's kick-off after the visitors' first try.

They kept the Brumbies to just three points in the second half but it was only late in the game that they opened up their own play and scored two late tries.

Brumbies Pat McCabe (neck) and David Pocock (knee) have been cleared of serious injury but will have more checks today.

The West Australian

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