Snooze you lose? Simon Cron hoping change in Force sleeping habits can prove a wake up call


The Western Force hope an influx of experienced players combined with some relaxing sleep-ins will help them snare an away win for the first time in nearly two years.

Last weekend’s 37-15 home victory over the Crusaders helped the Force to a 2-6 record and kept their Super Rugby Finals hopes alive.

Simon Cron’s men now have the chance to jump as high as eighth on the ladder by beating the struggling Highlanders (2-6) in Dunedin on Saturday.

But winning on the road has proven a barrier too hard to overcome so far in Cron’s tenure.

In fact, the Force haven’t won on the road since defeating Moana Pasifika 48-28 in Auckland on May 24, 2022 when Tim Sampson was still coach.

Simon Cron. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The Force are 0-4 on the road so far this season, with their most recent trip resulting in a 50-3 loss to the Blues.

But the recent arrival of former Wallabies stars Kurtley Beale and Sam Carter combined with the returns from injury of Izack Rodda and Michael Wells have added hope the Perth outfit have enough experience to get the job done on enemy territory.

“Having a couple more experienced players on the road who have been there and done that and are used to the travel (is good for us),” Cron said on Friday.

“We still have a lot of young pups … getting used to everything. 

“But there’s enough experience in the group now to handle that, so we’re ready to go.”

Cron has also put an emphasis on sleep in the lead-up to the game, taking into account the four-hour time difference between Perth and Dunedin.

“We’ve let them sleep in a little bit in terms of the time zone changes, so we’re not rushing them,” Cron said.

Beale will again start at fullback for the Force, with Rodda promoted to the starting line-up after making it through 60 minutes in his return last week.

The Highlanders are desperate to atone for last week’s 31-0 loss to the Queensland Reds.

And with eight of the 12 teams qualifying for finals, the winner of Saturday’s match between the Force and Highlanders will have their finals destiny back in their own hands.

“We know what the ladder is, we know where we sit. We don’t put it up in the change rooms, but we’re aware of it,” Cron said.

“The Highlanders are a good side. Let’s be realistic, they’ve got some really dominant players in their pack, and some good outside backs.

“Sometimes you don’t have a great week, and that might have been them last week.

“We’re under no illusion what they’ll come out with.”

After facing the Highlanders, the Force will play the fifth-placed Chiefs in Waikato next week.

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