The West

Force No8 not too worried by flogging
Ben McCalman. Pic: WA News

Forward Ben McCalman is confident the Western Force can return to their defensive best after leaking six tries in their 43-21 loss to the Waratahs on Sunday - the team's worst first-round result in nine seasons.

The Force are unlikely to make radical changes to the defensive system that served them so well last year but let them down in Sydney.

McCalman believes only a few adjustments are needed for Saturday night's game at nib Stadium when the Force meet former teammate David Pocock for his first game back in Perth after shifting to the Brumbies.

Though most of Sunday's statistics are hardly surprising - that being the Waratahs had more possession, overwhelming phases and metres gained - the Force had fewer turnovers and handling errors.

McCalman said they had taken positives out of the game and would turn the defence around.

"We're not too worried at the moment," the Wallabies No.8 said.

"We can turn the defence around. Last year our defence was the strength of our game.

"When we stick to our defensive structure and trust each other inside and out, it works.

"There is proof that it does work, it's just a matter of doing it for the whole time we are forced to defend.

"A few new players coming in, first round, maybe a few nerves. It's something we feel we can fix."

Force coach Michael Foley does not believe pre-season trials against weaker Samoa A and the Argentina Pampas - sides his own A team will play in the Pacific Cup - were an issue.

"It's certainly a step up (to Super Rugby) but we were happy with our preparation coming into the game," Foley said.

"We just didn't get it right on the day. You have to try and recognise what the key issues were.

"You have to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. You have to keep working on some of the things you think you can make your strength through the year."

Meanwhile, Queensland say they won't fall into the same trap as the Force and will deliberately keep the ball away from Israel Folau in Saturday night's grudge match against the Waratahs.

Scheming Reds halves Will Genia and Quade Cooper have both vowed not to kick to Wallabies teammate Folau, who scorched the Force for three tries.

"Out of every 10 contests he would win 10 of them," Genia said.

The West Australian

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