The West

Force fire over Highlander s sledge
Force fire over Highlander's sledge

Western Force are out to show Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph just how tough Australian teams can be in Saturday's Super Rugby clash in Dunedin.

After the current Super format was introduced, the rugged former All Blacks back-rower said Australian teams were playing "schoolboy rugby" against each other while Kiwi teams were "at war" in a gruelling season.

Force and Wallabies back- rower Ben McCalman said the side would take plenty of aggression into the game.

"Jamie Joseph has challenged Australian sides before as not being as fierce as New Zealand teams, being smarter teams as opposed to having the dominance and aggression," McCalman said.

"The Highlanders pride themselves on aggression.

"That is an area we have done a lot of work on this week."

Force coach Michael Foley took tough Wallaby back-rower Hugh McMeniman to Dunedin and he could be named in the side tomorrow if he is fully fit after a neck injury against the Brumbies.

He would be the perfect opponent for Highlanders hard man Brad Thorn, who could return after cartilage damage in their opening win over the Blues. He was expected to be out of action for a month but trained this week and will have a scan to see if the damage has healed.

Foley has other big weapons in flanker Angus Cottrell and second-rower Adam Coleman, who made his debut off the bench against the Rebels last weekend.

McCalman said the Force's next challenge was to string two consecutive wins together, something they have not managed since the 2011 season when they beat the Brumbies and Bulls.

They have a good record against the Highlanders, having won their past five games after losing the first two.

"The Force has been a side in the past that has been able to knock off a couple of big teams and then lose a few and then get the odd win," McCalman said.

"Our focus is to get the two wins in a row. Two from the first four will be a big step in setting up the season.

"We've put everything into this week, to get the quick start again and continue the dominance we had in the first 20 minutes from last weekend.

"There's no hiding the importance of starting well.

"The focus has been the same as what we took into last week's game … starting well."

The West Australian

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