The Force and Reds are vowing that another COVID-19 curveball won’t impact their Super Rugby AU finals charge.
The Western Force and Queensland Reds are vowing that another COVID-19 curveball won’t impact their Super Rugby AU finals charge.
A dramatic night in Perth ended with the Force ending their finals drought, and the Reds’ unbeaten 2021, with a 30-27 triumph at HBF Park on Friday night.
Fans were allowed, but only if they were wearing masks, as the WA Government announced that Perth would be locked down for three days as of midnight after the match.
Speaking immediately post-match, neither Force coach Tim Sampson nor Reds mentor Brad Thorn were clear on when their teams would be able to fly for their next assignments.
The Force are scheduled to play the Brumbies in the qualifying final in Canberra on Saturday while the Reds will host the grand final in Brisbane on May 8.
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“I can honestly tell you we’ve been through it so we’re OK with it,” said Sampson, who will become the first person to coach the Force in a finals game since their inception in 2006.
“Whatever happens, if we have to fly out tomorrow we’ll fly out tomorrow.
“If we stay here and have a good prep week in our own nest, all the better.
“We’ve had to adapt pretty quick and we addressed this at camp at the start of the year.
“There’s going to be challenges and hurdles throughout this competition and we’ve got to be able to adapt to it. We’re OK, we’ve had some good wins on the road this year.
“So if we have to leave early and get over there and prep, we’re OK with that.”
Thorn, meanwhile, described his side’s first loss of the season as a “nice little uppercut.”
With no game next weekend, he was relaxed about the uncertain travel situation.
“We’ll head back to Queensland, however that works out, I don’t know what’s happening there,” Thorn said.
“And the next two weeks we’ll be working hard like we have all season and prepare for the contest in the final, whoever we’re up against. We were heading back tomorrow.
“With the bye there’s no rush but it just seems with us… there’s a bit of action when we’re on the road. The last year and a half we’ve learned to adapt.
“We’ll embrace whatever comes.”