The West

Force aim to beat opening hoodoo
Force aim to beat opening hoodoo

The odds are stacked heavily against it but Western Force hope to create a little bit of club history in Sydney tomorrow - winning their first game of a Super Rugby season for the first time.

The Force have not won a season opener in eight attempts and face a star-studded Waratahs with 13 Wallabies in the starting line-up.

But Force coach Michael Foley is undaunted by the challenge of facing a side he rates as the best in the competition.

"We're playing one of the most talented sides, if not the most talented side," Foley said.

"They have a lot of talented players, there are some very obvious strengths and there aren't a hell of a lot of opportunities.

"The great challenge facing an opponent that is so talented is that, on the day, you can actually show up and do some things that might create some problems for them and come away with the result that probably no one else expects you to come away with."

Foley was happy to wear the underdog tag for the game when Force and former All Black scrum-half Alby Mathewson will make his 100th appearance.

"There's a certain excitement about that - being able to measure (up)," Foley said.

"You want to know exactly where you're at. We'll know a lot more about where we're at after this weekend."

Foley, who joined the Force from the Waratahs last season, knows about the pressure on the NSW side that has even been talked up by ARU chief executive Bill Pulver.

"There are some unique pressures being in Sydney. The pressure for us is our own expectations," Foley said. "Players and teams move on, obviously they've got a different coach playing a different style but there are some things that will be the same."

Veteran Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, who said he expected to be targeted by Foley, sent out a challenging message.

"We want to make an aggressive (statement) … a message of we're going to drive you back as much as possible," he said.

"I think he (Foley) will target specific people. I'm not too worried. He knows the players but he doesn't know the strategies."

Foley countered: "There have been a lot statements out of Sydney. We've got a fair indicator of what they are thinking."

Force marquee Wilhelm Steenkamp, will face former Bulls teammate Jacques Potgieter.

"We are not going to be mates on the field," Steenkamp said.

·The Force have signed global education provider Navitas as their back-of-jumper sponsor.

"We want to make an aggressive (statement) … a message of we're going to drive you back …" " Waratahs hooker *Tatafu Polota-Nau *

The West Australian

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