Force bank on old heads for finals debut

The Western Force will be entering uncharted territory this weekend, but the club's older heads are keeping everyone calm.

Force coach TIM SAMPSON.
Force coach TIM SAMPSON. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

The Western Force are entering uncharted waters, but coach Tim Sampson is backing the team's old heads to provide a calming influence in Saturday night's semi-final showdown against the Brumbies in Canberra.

The Force's stunning 30-27 win over the Queensland Reds last week saw the Perth-based franchise end their 16-year finals drought.

The result also continued a trend of close wins for the Force, who stayed calm in tense moments in their last-gasp victories over the Waratahs and Rebels.

The Force's squad boasts a wealth of experience, including All Blacks Richard Kahui and Jeremy Thrush, Irish legend Rob Kearney, Argentinian internationals Tomas Cubelli and Santiago Medrano, and former and current Wallabies Kyle Godwin, Tom Robertson, Tevita Kuridrani, Sitaleki Timani and Greg Holmes.

Kuridrani (suspended) and Kearney (adductor) won't play against the Brumbies, but Sampson is confident in his team's overall experience.

"The proof is in the pudding the last few weeks," Sampson said.

"It (the experience) has been invaluable in how we've won those games.

"They are the guys who lead you around the park and it was evident last week. They didn't get flustered, just stuck to the game plan and adjusted a bit."

"The guys are pretty calm, the occasion hasn't bothered them. Guys have played World Cups."

The Brumbies will welcome back Wallabies quartet James Slipper, Nic White, Pete Samu and Irae Simone into the starting line-up as they attempt to keep their title defence alive.

The winner of Saturday's match will meet the Queensland Reds in next week's grand final.