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Rusty Force ready for Wildfires challenge

Western Force coach Tim Sampson is demanding improvement from his side when they take on Newcastle Wildfires in their final pre-season trial in the Hunter Valley today.

He wants a step-up from last week’s 29-15 win over Shute Shield side Eastwood with the $1 million Global Rapid Rugby season just two weeks away.

“It’s more about progress than looking for perfection, but that sits on the back of needing improvement in areas like ball carrying, breakdown work and discipline,” Sampson said.

“We need to go longer in our phases and apply more pressure. If we can make improvements in those areas we’ll be pretty pleased.

“We weren’t overly happy with our defence but hopefully that was just being a bit rusty.

“There were some simple one-on-one issues that we have addressed and we’ve got to tighten up through the middle. It’s really about making progress around those little areas but I’d be disappointed if it happened again.”

Nine senior players are on the injury list.

The Newcastle invitation side is predominantly Shute Shield players and includes Australian under-20 back-rower Hugh Margin, Queensland Reds centre Seb Wileman, Waratahs second-rower Nick Palmer and prop Sam Needs.

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