Super Rugby COVID19 Perth Western Force vs Queensland Reds
The Western Force and the Queensland Reds swear another COVID-19 curveball will have no impact on their AU Super Rugby final loads.
A dramatic night in Perth ended with the final Force drought ending and the Reds unbeaten in 2021, with a 30-27 triumph at HBF Park on Friday night.
Fans were allowed, but only if they wore masks, as the WA government announced Perth would be locked down for three days starting at midnight after the game.
Speaking immediately after the game, neither Force coach Tim Sampson nor Reds mentor Brad Thorn were clear when their teams could fly for their next assignments.
The Force are set to face the Brumbies in the qualifying final in Canberra on Saturday, while the Reds host the grand final in Brisbane on May 8.
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“I can honestly tell you we’ve been there, so we’re okay with that,” said Sampson, who will become the first person to coach the Force in a playoff game since its inception in 2006.
“Whatever happens, if we have to fly tomorrow, we will leave tomorrow.
“If we stay here and have a good week of preparation in our own nest, so much the better.
“We had to adapt quite quickly and we tackled this problem at camp earlier in the year.
“There are going to be challenges and obstacles throughout this competition and we have to be able to adapt to them. We are doing well, we have had some good wins on the road this year.
“So if we have to leave early and get there to prepare ourselves, we’re okay with that.”
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Thorn, meanwhile, described his team’s first loss of the season as a “nice little uppercut”.
With the absence of a game next weekend, he was relaxed in the face of the uncertain travel situation.
“We’ll be going back to Queensland, but it’s working, I don’t know what’s going on there,” Thorn said.
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“And the next two weeks, we’ll work hard like we’ve been doing all season and prepare for the final game, whoever our opponent is. We come back tomorrow.
“With the bye there is no rush, but it just seems that with us … there is a little bit of action when we are on the road. The last year and a half we have learned to we adapt.
“We will embrace whatever happens.”