May 9 • General News, Super Rugby • 1275 Views • Comments Off on WARATAHS FALL TO FORCE IN PERTH

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nib Stadium – Perth
A lacklustre performance from the NSW Waratahs has seen them fall to the Western Force in Perth by seven points, 18-11, in a gritty display from both sides.

The Waratahs dominated the opening minutes of play but failed to capitalise on the abundance of possession, and conceded a number of offside penalties during this period. It didn’t stop the positive play from the Tahs, with the backs combining well for several try attempts, only to be thwarted by a defensive scramble from the Force.

The Force sought refuge in their set play, and were able to gain territory from a rolling maul, and were buoyed by another penalty against the Waratahs in the 12thminute but Brache was unable to register the first points of the match.
A favourable kick to Cottrell opened up an opportunity for the Force, but Folau on patrol put an end to their attempt, and the midfield tussle resumed until Louwrens, assisted by McCalman, crossed the line in the 19th minute of the game to register the first points of the match. Converted by Burton and the score was 7-0 to the home side.

Bernard Foley was given the opportunity to put the Waratahs on the board in the 25thminute, and did not fail to kick an easy penalty from in front to narrow the gap to four points. He followed this up with another kick from 40m out in the 27th minute, and once again kicked accurately to register another three points.

A penalty from right in front of the goals saw the Force jump to a four point lead with just ten minutes to play in the half, but the Tahs fought back from the restart to regain the momentum they had held briefly before. Prop Sekope Kepu was yellow-cared in the 33rd minute for a ruck infringement, and Paddy Ryan was forced to cover his duties in the interim.

The packs were tested in the remaining minutes of the half, until the Waratahs were again penalised, which saw Burton increase the Force’s lead to seven (13-6) just before the half-time siren sounded.

The Force were in control in the opening minutes of the second half, but a wayward kick from a bloodied Burton added to their tally of missed penalties for the match. Sloppy play from both sides squandered decent opportunities to attack from the halfway line, and it wasn’t until the 53rd minute that Taqele Naiyaravoro broke through the deadlock and shrugged off multiple tackle attempts to score the first NSW try of the match. Foley missed the conversion, and the gap was narrowed to just two points with 25 minutes to play.

A huge rolling maul from the Force in the 63rd minute delivered their second try for the night, and extended the lead back out to seven points. The Waratahs made best attempts to hit back, but a wayward pass from Kurtley Beale to Israel Folau turned over the ball.

Vice Captain Michael Hooper was forced to leave the field in the 70th minute with a suspected ankle injury, replaced by Pat McCutcheon. Meanwhile, Force Captain Matt Hodgson was yellow carded and would not return for the night.

A critical scrum penalty went against the Waratahs in the 73rd minute, but the Force bungled the kick for touch and their chance to further the lead was lost in a scramble for possession at the halfway line. Poor handling from the Waratahs did them no favours, and the personnel advantage that they had was almost negated by unforced errors by the back line.

Bernard Foley battled valiantly to turn around the fortunes of his side, but couldn’t find support as crucial seconds ticked away. An extended period of scrummaging and a final penalty against the Waratahs sealed the win for the Force, their third win in a row against the 2014 Super Rugby Champions.

nib Stadium, Perth
Western Force 18 (M Hodgson, R Louwrens tries; 1 goal L Burton, 2 penalty goals L Burton) beat NSW Waratahs 11 (T Naiyaravoro try; 2 penalty goals B Foley)

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