Western Force coach Michael Foley is adamant his squad remain united, saying no one’s sooking in the corner despite the team’s six-match losing run.
Pressure is mounting on Foley and the Force following their 1-7 start to the year, with the team desperate to bounce back from last week’s 49-13 Super Rugby hammering at the hands of the Waratahs.
The former Wallabies hooker, contracted until the end of next season, says he’s not worried about the growing external chatter surrounding his position.
And although being in charge of a struggling team is tough, Foley said seeing a mother and daughter lay a wreath at Monday’s Anzac Day dawn service put things into perspective.
“Professional sport is serious and we care about it. But there are other things in life that creates some perspective,” Foley said ahead of Friday night’s clash with the Bulls in Perth.
“At times like this, people start to speculate beyond what’s happening right now.
“For us, we just have to address how we’re feeling right now. There’s issues in our game, but those things are always easy to work on when you’re feeling upbeat.”
Foley has made seven changes to his 23-man squad for the Bulls encounter, with flyhalf Peter Grant (head) the latest player to join the ever-growing injury list.
So dire is the injury situation, scrumhalf Ian Prior will start at flyhalf, while fourth-choice hooker Harry Scoble – who only made his Super debut last week – has also been thrust into the starting line-up.
Skipper Matt Hodgson had an in-depth chat with his players this week, and Foley is sensing something special on the horizon.
“They’re disappointed, but they’re united,” Foley said.
“The players care – there’s no doubt in my mind. They want to play better. They want to win.
“You can lie down in the corner and sook about it, or you can keep having a crack – and having a crack is our attitude.”
The Bulls are shaping as legitimate title contenders after snaring five wins and a draw from their first seven games.
But if history is anything to go by, their clash with the Force could be a close affair.
Six of the nine matches between the two sides have been decided by six points or less, with the Bulls holding a 5-4 overall edge.
The greatest winning margin was 13 points, when the Bulls triumphed 28-15 in Perth in 2010.