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Blake slams Force for Lions snub

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.

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.

"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?"

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.

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."


From Belfast Telegraph