The West

Force ready to cut down Waratahs
Kyle Godwin.

Reputations will count for little when Western Force chase another first at nib Stadium tonight - victory at home against the Wallaby-laden NSW Waratahs for the first time.

They have not beaten the Waratahs in Perth in six attempts and will need a giant-killing feat against a team boasting 12 Wallabies and a Springbok in the run-on side and two more Wallabies and an Australian Sevens captain in the reserves.

The Force are looking for five consecutive wins and Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has been playing the underdog card, claiming the home side are favourites.

Few would agree. Cheika's match-day squad has more than 400 Test appearances while the Force have just six internationals with 57 caps between them - and half of those have been won by Wallabies No.8 Ben McCalman.

Force coach Michael Foley has not fallen into the "favourite" trap and was not worried about reputations.

"Maybe he (Cheika) feels his players are expecting to win and maybe he's getting them in the right frame of mind," Foley said.

"It certainly doesn't affect anything that we are doing or the way we feel about the game.

"We don't really look so much at how talented they are, other than try and work out where the strengths and weaknesses are.

"The Waratahs speak for themselves in terms of their talent. They've obviously got a lot of threats in the backs and a very big, experienced forward pack.

"We've looked at them and the way they have played in the last few weeks, they've obviously played very well. It's going to be an incredibly tough game."

Despite the lopsided international look there will be plenty of interesting match-ups, none more so than Force centre Kyle Godwin facing the threat of game-breaker Kurtley Beale.

Godwin is the best tackling back in Super Rugby with 65 hits and an accuracy of more than 90 per cent but he will need to maintain that to shut Beale out of the game, not only because of his direct threats but because of his timing and ability to put Israel Folau into try-scoring positions.

One area Foley has worked on is closing down the space that allowed Folau to score a hat-trick of tries in the round-one 43-21 loss.

"There were some things we did well in terms of putting pressure on him after we kicked but the biggest issue was giving him way too much space," Foley said.

"We've got to make sure our kick chase is very good, the defensive line is solid and we've got to try and arrive with the ball to make those kicks contestable.

"The guys are primed. We are playing one of the best teams in the competition. We have to play very well to win."

"The Waratahs speak for themselves in terms of their talent. We have to play very well to win." "Force coach *Michael Foley *

The West Australian

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