Rugby: Super Rugby coach slams scheduling

Western Force coach Michael Foley is angry - and even the lure of more frequent flyer points won't soothe the situation. Photo / Getty Images.
Western Force coach Michael Foley is angry - and even the lure of more frequent flyer points won't soothe the situation. Photo / Getty Images.

Western Force coach Michael Foley is angry - and even the lure of more frequent flyer points won't soothe the situation.

Foley has slammed the Super Rugby scheduling that will force his side to play in three different countries inside the space of 14 days.

That stretch started on May 17 when the Force lost to the Stormers in Cape Town.

The Force managed to overcome jet lag to beat the Lions 29-19 in Perth a week later, but they now have just six days to recover before taking on the Crusaders in Christchurch next Friday.

With the Force sitting in fourth spot on the table, their match against the third-placed Crusaders looms as one of the most crucial battles of the season.

"It's massive, and made more difficult by the way it's been scheduled with the six-day turnaround," Foley said.

"We travelled from South Africa to Perth, the blokes were under enormous stress to play, and now they are put under further stress by having to fly to New Zealand on Monday on a six-day turnaround.

"Our guys will front up, because they'll always front up. But the scheduling is not the best."

Skipper Matt Hodgson was the hero in the Force's win over the Lions, with the recalled Wallaby crossing for two tries - including the bonus-point fourth try at the death.

The win was the Force's eighth of the season - a record for the Perth-based franchise.

It was also the first time the Force had notched five straight home wins.

Now, the Force have set their sights on claiming a maiden finals berth.

But with nine teams still fighting it out to finish in the top-six, Foley knows there isn't much margin for error.

"Looking at some of the results around us over this round, it's a bit of a bun fight," Foley said.

"The Hurricanes smashed the Chiefs; the Brumbies got smashed by the Bulls.

"There's a lot of see-sawing happening.

"We've just got to control the things we can control and keep getting the results."

The Force will be bolstered by a host of key returns after next month's Test window.

Inside-centre Kyle Godwin, utility back Solomoni Rasolea, winger Luke Morahan, halfback Alby Mathewson and rampaging lock Hugh McMeniman are all set to return from injury for the June 28 clash with the Blues in Perth.

Centre Marcel Brache, who missed the win over the Lions due to an ankle injury, might return against the Crusaders.

But the Force will be without inside centre Luke Burton, who will link up with Australia's Under-20 side for their upcoming junior World Cup campaign.

"We'll play our hearts out next week, and then the reinforcements will arrive," Foley said.

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