Attitude drives Force destiny
Attitude drives Force destiny

When Western Force players pull on their jumpers for the most important game in the club's history against the Brumbies in Canberra tonight, they will see a word that has been a key to this year's record-breaking season.

Emblazoned inside on the neckline is "Attitude".

The change in attitude, a belief that they can win, has taken the Force to one game away from making an historic maiden Super Rugby finals appearance.

The seed for the motivational tool was planted before last year's final game against the Brumbies when scrum-half Alby Mathewson told players that ultimately, attitude will always matter most.

The Force went on to win and knock the Brumbies out of a top-two place. This year "attitude" was sewn into the inside of the jumper.

Coach Michael Foley said attitude was one of the major changes in the side from previous seasons.

That word resonated because it was the biggest single learning tool out of the first year. It sits there as a reminder, Foley said.

"Being able to come with the right attitude, that's ultimately the challenge for us," he said.

The challenge facing the Force tonight is knowing both they and the Brumbies must win to secure a play-off appearance.

Foley has made two forced changes to the side that beat Queensland last week.

Brynard "Rhino" Stander will start in place of the suspended Hugh McMeniman and centre Junior Rasolea will replace Marcel Brache who had 20 stitches in a head gash last week.

Starting halves Ian Prior and Zack Holmes will have plenty to prove against their old club.

Mathewson is in the reserves while playmaker Sias Ebersohn will have a late fitness test today on his injured bicep. If he fails, Dillyn Leyds will be on the bench.

Flanker Chris Alcock returns to the match-day squad five months after shoulder surgery and makes up the reserves with local product Luke Burton.

The Brumbies are favourites but Foley said it was important not just to win but to play with spirit.

"These guys don't see themselves as underdogs. These guys see themselves as ripping into the opposition," Foley said.

"This is a side serious about what it wants to look like in the future. Whatever will be, will be. We'll learn from what happens."

The Brumbies are confident with five Wallabies returning from injury and captain Ben Mowen believes big-game experience will be the difference.

"The reason we feel so confident is we know our game, we know it suits knockout footy. You've got to have your team used to that feeling," Mowen said.

"We know how hard it is to win on the road, how hard it is to get that result in finals ... pressure moments, experience you get from that has been a huge benefit.

"This is the start of the finals. If we get this right we go on a run. Whatever has happened beforehand doesn't matter."


  • FIXTURES: Today: *Blues v Chiefs, Brumbies v Force. *Tomorrow: *Bulls v Rebels, Crusaders v Highlanders, Reds v Waratahs, Lions v Cheetahs, Stormers v Sharks.

These guys don't see themselves as underdogs."Michael Foley

The West Australian

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