The Western Force have come away with a convincing 28-0 victory over the Wellington Hurricanes at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford last night.
The Force started with a bang and showed great persistence in defence holding the 2015 Asteron Life Super Rugby grand finalists scoreless throughout the match.
It took the Western Australian side five minutes to get on the score board through big man Adam Coleman, after a series of fantastic offloads from Steve Mafi and Ian Prior. Coleman crashed over just left of the posts for the first try of the game. Peter Grant made easy work of the conversion and the Force took an early 7-0 lead, which they would carry into quarter time.
The Hurricanes put together a number of solid phases, that placed them on the five-metre line, but the Force defence was exceptional, with Dane Haylett-Petty putting a huge shot on rival fullback Jason Woodward, which caused a knock on.
With the Hurricanes breaking the line and creating chances the Force defence stood up to maintain their 7-0 lead at halftime.
A relentless set of phase play from the Hurricanes in the first 10 minutes put the Force under immense pressure, resulting in Steve Mafi being sent to the bin after repeat offences. Not five minutes later young flanker Kane Koteka was also sent to the bin, leaving the Force with 13 men on the pitch.
The Force went on the attack despite the two-man deficit, controlling possession and pushing hard for the line. Mafi returned from the sin-bin and had an immediate impact scoring off the back of a Force lineout on the stroke of three-quarter time. Jono Lance converted and the Force took a 14-point lead into the last quarter.
In the 65th minute new recruit Semisi Masirewa showed his skills to step past three Hurricanes players and dotted down for the Force’s third try of the contest. Lance once again added the extras and the Force went 21-0 up with 15 minutes to play.
After Chris Alcock fell centimeters short of the line the ball was quickly recycled and Jono Lance found Ammon Matuauto with a superb offload as the Force went over for their fourth try. Lance had no trouble with the conversion, taking the score to 28-0.
Despite a last minute attack from the Hurricanes, the Force managed to withstand the assault and come away with a strong first up victory.
The Western Force’s next and final pre-season match is next Saturday, 13 February against the Asia Pacific Dragons at McGillivray Oval. Kicking off at 5pm (AWST), be sure you are there to fill the hill and get behind the Force as we prepare for a massive 2016 Asteron Life Super Rugby season!