Force eye off bonus points for finals bid

The Western Force's finals hopes are still alive courtesy of last week's win over the Rebels, but they are in desperate need of some bonus points.

TOM ROBERTSON.
TOM ROBERTSON. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Western Force players will treat their final two games like finals fixtures, and they're well aware bonus points could end up deciding their fate.

The Force kept their finals hopes alive with a pulsating 16-15 Super Rugby AU win over the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday night.

The result means the Force are now just one point behind the third-placed Rebels with two rounds remaining.

The Force will host the last-placed NSW Waratahs and ladder-leading Queensland Reds in their final two rounds.

The Rebels play the second-placed Brumbies (home) and Waratahs (away).

If both sides snare just one win each from those games as widely predicted, then bonus points or points differential will decide who snares third spot and a place in the finals.

The Force's score differential is minus 49 compared to the Rebels' minus nine.

It means the Force can ill afford to let a bonus point slip when they take on the Waratahs in Perth on Saturday night.

"It's a real fight for the finals now. We're treating every game as it's a semi or a quarter-final," Force prop Tom Robertson, who crossed from the Waratahs at the end of last year, said.

"If we don't win this week, it will be really tough for us to make the finals.

"Obviously we've got to get the win first, but the bonus point, we need to get at least one over the next two weeks to secure finals.

"Then it means we don't have to rely on the Rebels, their results, in order to secure that spot.

"We're hoping to get a bonus point. But if we get two wins in the next two weeks, then that's our priority."

The Waratahs are winless after six games, but in their first game after coach Rob Penney was sacked, they showed far more fight and class in a 24-22 loss to the Brumbies.

The Force scraped past the Waratahs 20-16 in round three, and Robertson is expecting an even tougher challenge this time around.

"The Waratahs are a lot more dangerous now compared to the first time we played them," Robertson said.

"They got Jake Gordon back, who is pretty much the source of all their attack.

"I played with Jake for a few years and he's dynamic and a good ball runner.

"We have to be careful of him. He's really ignited their backline and they're playing really well out wide now."