Force aim to keep party going for Sampson

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The Western Force will try to keep the party going for departing coach Tim Sampson and the team's retiring stars when they take on the fifth-placed Hurricanes on Saturday night.

The Force kept their slim finals hopes alive on Tuesday with a 48-28 bonus-point victory over Moana Pasifika.

Sampson's contract runs out at the end of the season and Saturday's match will mark his final home game.

The stakes were raised even higher on Friday when former All Blacks Jeremy Thrush and Richard Kahui and ex-Wallaby Greg Holmes announced that they will be retiring at the end of the Super Rugby Pacific season.

If the Force lose on Saturday night at HBF Park, it will end their season immediately.

But a win over the Hurricanes and a Rebels victory over the eighth-placed Highlanders on Sunday would thrust the Force into the quarter-finals, as long as the Highlanders don't pick up a losing bonus point.

Force scrumhalf Ian Prior paid a special tribute to Sampson, who will be replaced by Simon Cron next season.

"The team is really keen to keep the season going and put out a performance he's proud of," Prior told AAP.

"He's done a lot for this club over the past five years, a lot for the game of rugby in WA.

"He took over the club when it was on its knees and put it back on its feet.

"We are really keen as a team to put out a good performance and go another couple of weeks into the finals and make him proud."

Saturday will also be a special occasion for Prior, who will become just the third player to notch 100 caps for the Force.

Prior turns 32 in August, but he's determined to keep playing for years to come.

"It's really humbling. To be only the third player in the club's history to do it, is something I'm really proud of," Prior said of the milestone.

"I'm really grateful for the opportunity to be able to do so.

"Michael Foley first brought me over here in 2014, and Matt Hodgson brought me back from Harlequins in 2018 to help rebuild the club.

"I feel like I'm playing my best rugby at the moment, so that's always a good sign.

"You've got Richard Kahui (36 years old), Jeremy Thrush (37), and Greg Holmes (38) going around nearly at 40 and they're playing good rugby. I think age is just a number these days.

"So as long as the body and the mind are enjoying it, I'll keep going as long as I can. I'm not ready for the real world yet."

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