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Grunt work helps Western Force get home

There are two breeds in the game of rugby: the piano pushers and the piano players.

The new Global Rapid Rugby laws bring a frenetic pace for the players but there is still plenty of room for the pushers.

And it was the grunt of the piano pushers that set the foundation for Western Force’s 26-16 victory over the World XV in their opening clash of the GRR showcase series at HBF Park on Friday night.

The forwards direct running and rucking on the WXV line led directly to three of the side’s four tries from the backs.

Force coach Tim Sampson, once an inside back piano player, was quick to acknowledge the work of the forwards.

“They controlled the game quite well through the middle of the field allowing our game managers (scrum-half) Ian Prior and (fly-half) Andrew Deegan to decide when to strike and have a go through the backs,” Sampson said.

“There were some good examples where we played nice and direct through our forwards.

“The piano pushers up front do the work and the piano players finish it off. That’s the beauty of it.”

The Force first game of the season was a bit like the pre-season hit-out they never had with a number of errors and penalties but Sampson was happy with the result.

“These games can be tricky. First game out, there’s excitement and things can get pretty loose, but I thought we controlled things pretty well,” he said.

“The pleasing thing was our composure and patience when we got into an attacking position.

“As the game went on blokes started to fatigue a bit, a few errors crept in but there was some really good footy.”

The Force play the Hong Kong-based South China Tigers at HBF Park on Friday night, a side that features the English Premiership’s all-time leading try scorer, Leicester Tigers winger Ton Varndell.

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