Feeble Force activates 'black-level contact'
Western Force coach Tim Sampson has activated the dreaded “black-level contact” at training as a direct response to last week’s horror defensive display.
The Force conceded seven tries in their 6-43 loss to the Hurricanes in New Zealand last Friday.
It was the Force’s worst display of the Trans-Tasman competition, and they face an even bigger task this Friday, when they take on the champion Crusaders in Christchurch.
Sampson was disappointed with his team’s lack of defensive zeal against the Hurricanes, and Force players have been bearing the consequences ever since.
Prop Tom Robertson was among the players left nursing wounds from Monday’s bruising training session, which was a no-holds-barred affair.
“We did what we call black-level contact, which is 10 out of 10 contact,” Robertson said.
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“Black means unlimited, so as hard as you can go. It’s basically doing another game.
“It’s pretty tough. Everyone is whacking each other. There’s no love lost out there, and a couple of guys had to come off the pitch.
“You can see I’ve got a bit of skin off the forehead as well. Some blokes are worse off than me.
“It [code black] is a bit out of the ordinary, especially this deep in the season.
“But after a poor defensive effort on the weekend they decided that we needed some of that, and I agree with that. We needed to be more physical on the weekend.”
The Crusaders are unbeaten in the Trans-Tasman competition and racked up a combined 117 points over the past fortnight in wins over the Reds and Waratahs.
Robertson said the Force would need to be on their game defensively to topple the All Black-laden outfit.
“We’ve seen the Highlanders beat the Crusades in Christchurch earlier this year, so we’re confident we can go down there and win,” Robertson said.
“We just have to play pretty much the perfect game, and we’ve been training this week in order to achieve that.
“We’ve gone best when it has been a more defensive game. When our defence aims up, I think it’s one of the best in the comp.
“If we can make it a low-scoring game and really get them in the trenches, I think we’re a good shot.”