Force form doesn t shock Wallaby coach
Kyle Godwin.

The Western Force's dramatic form turnaround that has flung them into the finals race comes as no surprise to Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.

After a slow start to the year the Force have been reborn with four consecutive wins heading into Saturday night's clash with the Waratahs at nib Stadium.

McKenzie, who has spent a couple of days with his Force counterpart Michael Foley, said while the team has had a good run of results the big job was maintaining them.

"Their form didn't surprise me after what I saw in January when I was here," McKenzie said.

"I saw a good culture and a good off-season. I was pretty vocal about the prospects and while the two losses (against the Waratahs and Brumbies) were a bit of a blow they have turned that around. They are in good form.

"They are going through a bit of a purple patch at the moment. It's a question of how long you can hang on to it.

"There's a good team spirit, culture, call it what you want - they are out there playing for each other."

McKenzie said Wallabies selection for the three-Test series against France in June would come down to performance. On form, several Force players like Ben McCalman, Kyle Godwin, and Matt Hodgson have played themselves into contention.

"I'm a believer in performance is king," McKenzie said. "You don't get people that just come out of nowhere. If people are playing well and consistently well then obviously that is going to be recognised and talked about.

"As for a bolter out of the blue, that may come in terms of what the general public think, but we are methodical and consistent.

"Eventually you paint a picture and consistency is a big part of that picture.

"Ultimately it is up to the players - players drive the selection.

"You see a lot in the training session. You see who talks and you pick up a lot of the camaraderie and things like that"

McKenzie, who will be back in Perth for Saturday's game, will not get to see the expected mouth-watering clash between in-form Force No.8 McCalman and Wycliffe Palu after the Wallabies veteran failed to pass a fitness test on the ankle he injured two weeks ago in the Waratahs' loss to the Sharks in Durban.

Star NSW full-back Israel Folau is expected to have recovered from a throat injury.

The West Australian

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