The Western Force will be aiming to avoid an unwanted slice of history when they take on the Blues in Saturday’s Super Rugby clash in Auckland.
The Force’s nine-match losing run is the equal worst in the franchise’s history – matching the mark set in their debut season of 2006.
A loss to the lowly Blues would not only mark a new low for the Force, but it would also increase their chances of collecting the wooden spoon.
With just six games remaining, the Force sit last on the table – one point behind both the Blues and the Reds.
The Force have come close to ending their losing run in each of their past six games, and coach Michael Foley said it was important for his team to put past heartbreaks behind them.
“Obviously we carry that sense of disappointment that we haven’t won the games we wanted to,” Foley said.
“But we can’t live with regret. Baggage and emotional regret doesn’t help you achieve what you want in the future.
“We have to move forward positively.
“That’s what I’m most happy about with the team at the moment – they’re not whingeing. They stand tight together.”
With both Alby Mathewson (knee) and Ian Prior (suspended) unavailable, the Force will rely on their third and fourth-string halfbacks this week in the form of Ryan Louwrens and Justin Turner.
Lock Adam Coleman was tentatively named in the squad on Thursday, but Foley said the rising star would almost certainly miss the match because of a shoulder injury.
The Force were brave in last week’s 35-27 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton, with the Perth-based franchise scoring three second-half tries despite playing most of the match with just 14 men.
Foley said that same spirit would need to be displayed against a Blues outfit that smashed the Force 40-14 in Perth last year.
Blues coach John Kirwan is under the pump following his team’s dismal 1-9 start to the season, but the returns of Jerome Kaino, Charles Piutau, and James Parsons are a major boost.