British and Irish Lions 2013: Western Force branded 'disgraceful' by former coach for fielding weakened team - International - Rugby Union - The Independent

British and Irish Lions 2013: Western Force branded 'disgraceful' by former coach for fielding weakened team

The tourists cruised to victory in the match

Former Western Force coach Phil Blake believes the Western Australian outfit should be stripped of future matches against touring sides after fielding a reserve team to take on the British and Irish Lions yesterday.

Force coach Michael Foley elected to rest key players for Sunday's meaningless Super Rugby clash with the NSW Waratahs, sending a bunch of untried and inexperienced players into battle and watching them take a 69-17 hiding.

Lions coach Warren Gatland was disappointed with the inferior opposition served up to his side, while former England boss Sir Clive Woodward accused the Australian province of treating the Lions with contempt.

It's understood Foley's decision to rest seven frontline players has caused a major rift in the Force camp.

Blake, who had control of the Force for the back-end of last season before being axed for Foley, is still close to a number of players and is upset at what transpired.

"It should never have been allowed to happen. The ARU shouldn't have let it happen, the (Force) board shouldn't have let it happen and Foley shouldn't have been allowed to do it," he told Sportal.

"They've been promoting the history of the Lions and what it means to everyone who plays with them and against them.

"I would have thought a potential win against the British and Irish Lions in your history books would have meant more than a win against a second string NSW side.

"Next time there's a touring side coming to Australia they'll jump up and down if they don't get a game in the west.

"But why should they get another game when they've treated the biggest game in their history this way?

"It's disgraceful."

Asked how the players who missed the opportunity to play against the Lions would be feeling, Blake responded: "They'd be gutted. If you're not playing Test football, to play against a touring side is a feather in your cap and something you look back on with great pride.

"They've been robbed of that opportunity."

Brumbies skipper and Wallabies squad member Ben Mowen agreed with Blake, adding: "I think that would be extremely disappointing for those guys. It's just a massive honour to be involved any time you get to play a side like this."

Foley defended his decision, pointing to a crowded schedule that sees the Force play his former team the Waratahs on Saturday.

But Blake is not buying it, particularly with the Force-Tahs match having no bearing on the finals make-up.

"Obviously if you look a little deeper he's (Foley) thinking 'if I can beat NSW then I'll get one up on them' but there's a far bigger picture than that here," he said.

"Half the blokes who played Wednesday are playing club rugby - they shouldn't be taking on the Lions.

"You're not really caring about the paying public because you are putting out a side that would struggle to beat a club side in Sydney."

PA

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week