2 Mar 2009

Mitchell says east coast win is step for respect

6:00 am on 2 March 2009

The Western Force coach John Mitchell has described his side's first Super 14 win on the east coast as a small victory in the besieged franchise's battle for respect.

The Force arrived at Canberra Stadium on Saturday with their attitude under intense scrutiny after their biggest name, Matt Giteau, had announced he would quit the troubled team at the end of the season.

They leave for a two-match trip to New Zealand with a bonus point victory, their second win in three starts, and fourth spot on the Super 14 table.

Giteau's decision and predictions of a player exodus had prompted Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill to promise the franchise would not be allowed to fail.

Mitchell says the first east coast win is a nice milestone.