Frustrated Force vow to keep fighting

Stand-in Western Force skipper Sam Wykes is adamant the franchise has the right hierarchy in place to lead the slumping team to Super Rugby success in future.

The Force face a fight just to avoid the wooden spoon this season after Saturday’s 24-15 loss to the Cheetahs consigned them to their seventh straight defeat.

The situation is in stark contrast to last year, when the Force came within a whisker of making the finals for the first time.

Coach Michael Foley cut a frustrated figure after watching his team commit several costly decision-making errors against the Cheetahs.

And the task doesn’t get any easier for the Force, who take on the Stormers (Perth) and high-flying Chiefs (Hamilton, NZ) over the next fortnight.

The Force sit just one point ahead of the last-placed Queensland Reds, but Wykes is confident the team’s form will soon turn.

“We’re disappointed we haven’t got the results this year. But one thing our team will always do is keep fighting,” Wykes said.

“We’ll definitely succeed, I’ve got no doubt about that.

“I believe in the systems we have. We’ve got a great coaching staff. The club has got the right people here to steer it in the right direction.

“It does hurt us that we didn’t get the results, especially for the people who have been so loyal to us.

“It definitely is frustrating. But we’ll keep fighting.”

Earlier this year, Foley signed a two-year contract extension that ties him to the Force until the end of 2017.

His assistants Dave Wessels and Kevin Foote are also highly regarded within club headquarters.

The Force have blown good chances to secure victory in each of their past four games, and they are now just two defeats away from equalling their longest losing run.

Saturday’s match was meant to be a celebration of the Force’s 10th year in the competition.

Instead, it became a time for some brutal home truths after the Force coughed up a 15-8 lead in slippery conditions.

Foley’s frustrations were clear to see after the game, with the coach critical of his team’s unwillingness to kick the ball to safety at crucial times.

“I think we made some silly decisions around halfway with the ball that brought the Cheetahs back into the game,” Foley said.

“It’s pretty straight forward. If you’re outnumbered, then the right thing to do in wet conditions is to get the ball in behind the opposition and make sure you’re playing with the numerical advantage.”

Force skipper Matt Hodgson (hamstring) is set to miss one more week before returning for the April 24 clash with the Chiefs.

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