Western Force coach Michael Foley says his team need to play smarter, not harder, if they are to end their seven-match losing run in Saturday night’s clash with the Stormers.
Foley was happy with his side’s physicality last week, but a host of key decision-making errors resulted in a 24-15 Super Rugby loss to the Cheetahs.
The Force can’t afford to put in a similar display against the Stormers, who were tactically astute in their 32-18 win over the Waratahs last week.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has retained Demetri Catrakilis at flyhalf in a bid to unsettle the Force with a penetrating kicking game.
Foley said it was up to his team to play their way out of defence in a smart manner.
“Allister Coetzee has come out overnight in the South African media and suggested they’ve picked Catrakilis at 10 to kick us into our 22,” Foley said.
“So they’re going to kick the ball down our end of the field and are going to try to make us play there.
“They’ve picked a 10 that’s going to be very physical in defence.
“For us, it’s about being able to match that physicality, but then also make some smart decisions.”
The Force haven’t tasted victory since their opening-round success against the Waratahs.
A loss to the sixth-placed Stormers in Perth could relegate the Force to the foot of the table.
Spirits remain high among the Force despite the losing run, and Foley hopes a dose of brotherly love will help the team’s cause at nib Stadium on Saturday night.
Dane Haylett-Petty has retained his spot at fullback after putting in a star display against the Cheetahs.
And his 21-year-old brother Ross is in line to make his Super Rugby debut after being named on the bench.
“Dane’s a very proud big brother, and he’s looking forward to Ross’s debut as much as Ross is,” Foley said.
“The only person that puffed their chest out more than Ross was Dane when we announced the team.”