Milestone man Pek Cowan hopes the Western Force’s ability to avoid the blame game will help them break their eight-match losing run this week.
Cowan will notch his 100th Super Rugby cap when he lines up in Friday night’s clash with the Chiefs in Hamilton.
The Force sit last on the table with a dismal 1-8 record, and they’ll equal their longest-ever losing run if they fail to come up trumps against the high-flying Chiefs.
Cowan insists spirits remain high in the Force camp despite the poor on-field results, saying the strong team unity has played a key role in helping avoid any fractures.
“The most important thing is being honest with each other. Just making sure we put our hands up when we feel like we’ve done something wrong,” Cowan said.
“It’s not necessarily about executing guys for making mistakes. It’s about trying to find solutions.
“The moment you start pointing guys out individually in a team sport is when things start to really go wrong.
“We win or lose together. It’s pretty simple.”
The Force came within a win of securing a finals berth last year.
Now, they face a fight just to avoid the wooden spoon.
“To be where we are right now – we aren’t happy,” Cowan said.
“It is a bit frustrating.”
Skipper Matt Hodgson will return against the Chiefs after recovering from a torn hamstring, and Cowan couldn’t be happier to have his mate back in the team.
Hodgson is the only other player to have notched 100 caps for the Force.
“There’s no better guy to come in when all the chips are down,” Cowan said.
“We just need that extra kick.”
Cowan made his debut against the Waratahs back in 2006 – but there was no fairytale finish as the Force slumped to a 32-7 loss.
“It didn’t go that well. But from that day I vowed to play many more games, and thankfully I’ve had the opportunity,” Cowan said.
“I came over to the Force as an 19-year-old and signed a one-year deal, purely because I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it here in Perth. But I love it here so much.
“To rack up 100 games for the one club is very humbling.”
Cowan said the past three years spent under coach Michael Foley had been particularly enjoyable, and he predicts a bright future for the franchise.
The 28-year-old will be aiming for a strong finish to the current season in a bid to boost his chances of earning a World Cup spot.