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Super Rugby: Blues can keep Force rock bottom

After a 31-13 defeat at Fijian Drua in Round 6, things certainly don’t get any easier for Western Force as they prepare to face the Blues in Auckland on Friday night.

The Force sit rooted to the bottom of the Super Rugby Pacific ladder and a trip to Eden Park to face an in-form Blues side represents a huge challenge for head coach Simon Cron and his side.

What: Blues v Force
Where: Eden Park, Auckland
When: 16:05, Friday 5th April 2024
How to watch: Stan Sport
Odds: Blues 1.04, Force 11.00

Force must put Lautoka experience behind them

Torrential rain made the Force’s last encounter at Churcill Park a unique experience that they are unlikely to encounter again this season.

The hosts handled the soaked surface much better than the Perth outfit, even though they had Tevita Ikanivere sent off in the first half of the contest.

With handling in such conditions difficult, a huge defensive effort from Drua managed to compensate for the numerical disadvantage and in the end the hosts ran out comfortable winners.

While lessons will have been learnt from Churchill Park, it’s important Cron and his side move on quickly to what will be a very different and more difficult challenge on Friday in Auckland.

It’s dry weather set for New Zealand’s North Island for the entirety of the week and pleasant conditions await the Force on their arrival at Eden Park.

With a dry paddock, the Force can try and get their attacking play going but this will also work in favour of the hosts, who have won five their six games so far this season.

With that in mind, it’s little wonder the Force are outsiders at 11.00 to cause an upset at Eden Park this week.

The visitors are also afforded a generous handicap, with +22.5 at 1.91 available in the Line market.

Blues can expose fragile Force defence

Scoring 25 tries in their opening six games of the Super Rugby Pacific season, only frontrunners the Hurricanes and the Queensland Reds have scored more so far this term.

What has been most impressive is the Blues’ work without the ball.

The Auckland outfit has the best defensive record in the league, conceding just 12 tries so far and 92 points in total over those six games.

With the meanest defence in the competition and a backline that includes the likes of All Blacks stars Rieko Ioane and Mark Telea, head coach Vern Cotter has a side that look capable of securing grand final glory this year.

The Blues are 3.25 to be crowned champions this season, while they are are firm favourites at 1.04 to beat the Force under the lights at Eden Park this week.

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