Force coach not happy at embarrassing boots mistake

·2-min read

Western Force coach Simon Cron has revealed he gave some of his players a rocket for wearing the wrong types of studs in last week's 48-13 Super Rugby Pacific loss to the Crusaders.

The Force endured scrum problems throughout the match, and it didn't take long for Cron to realise some of his players were wearing studs not suited for a game in Christchurch.

Cron didn't name names, but said some players in the "back five" of the forward pack were at fault.

"It was really evident that a couple of our guys last week were slipping from the first scrum," Cron told reporters on Wednesday.

"In Christchurch, the field was dewy and a bit soft on top.

"So if you put in 14s or 12s - or even plastics in the front of your boots like we discovered one (player) did - then you're basically on ice stakes.

"It's like pushing around with socks on a gym floor.

"About 62-65 per cent of your power at scrum time comes from your back five. So if they're slipping, our front row are at a hiding.

"I didn't miss with my shots and bullets. The boys owned it, fixed it, it won't happen again."

Force prop Tom Robertson, who missed the game through a calf injury, was also shocked.

"It was hard to watch when a lot of our back five (of the forward pack) were on ice skates," he said.

"It's like going to the cricket without your bat - you've really got to have the right equipment.

"We've spoken about how that was unacceptable at this level, and I dare say they won't let that happen again."

Robertson and hooker Folau Fainga'a are the big inclusions for Friday night's crunch clash with Fijian Drua at HBF Park.

Fainga'a has battled an Achilles heel injury all season and hasn't featured since playing in the round-five loss to the Blues.

Robertson is back after missing two matches with a calf strain.

Their experience and class could prove critical as the Force (3-7) attempt to snap a two-match losing run that has resulted in them tumbling to 11th spot on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder.

Fijian Drua are four points ahead of the Force in eighth spot, making Friday's clash a crucial encounter in the race for a top-eight berth.

Force No.8 Rahbni Vosayaco returns to the starting line-up following the birth of his son, with recent signing Isi Naisarani relegated to the bench.

Prop Angus Wagner is back after recovering from a hamstring injury.

FORCE: Angus Wagner, Folau Fainga'a, Tom Robertson, Jeremy Williams, Ryan McCauley, Michael Wells (capt), Carlo Tizzano, Rahboni Vosayaco, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Max Burey, Manasa Mataele, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Zach Kibirige, Chase Tiatia. Res: Tom Horton, Marley Pearce, Siosifa Amone, Felix Kalapu, Tim Anstee, Isi Naisarani, Ian Prior, George Poolman.