Planet Rugby

Force blows rubbish Reds away

16th March 2007 12:00

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Western Force: Australian Super 14 team on the up

The Western Force gave their long-suffering fans more reason to celebrate with only their second Super 14 victory at home, when they smashed a very ordinary Reds team 38-3 at Subiaco Oval in Perth on Friday.

After more than a year of waiting for their first home win, the Force have now won back-to-back games at home and moved into second place on the standings - at least for the next 24 hours.

As for the Reds, the word rubbish probably best describes what they dished up as a game of rugby. And to add insult to injury, they were reduced to 14 men for 60 minutes of the match - after wing Peter Hynes was yellow carded twice, with the second yellow becoming an automatic red card.

Longinus spoke of poetry as powerful emotion recollected in tranquility. This match was not poetry. There was lots of powerful emotion but not recollected and certainly not tranquil. It was heat-of-the-moment stuff - lots of heat and much of the emotion was animosity.

There was little that was beautiful - certainly not in the forward exchanges.

The scrums were an unacceptable mess. There were 17 scrums - 20 resets, 4 free kicks and 5 penalties. That just is not fun. If it had been a neighbourhood pick-up match on a vacant plot it may have been understandable but these were professional teams - top people in a top competition.

There was also a fair amount of bad manners, which was not a credit to the game.

The first score was a penalty, the second a penalty try, the third a penalty. The fourth was actually a try but there was a red card in that effort. The next three scores were penalties before the match ended with two excellent tries. But that was in the last four minutes. It took 76 minutes to get there.

The first penalty was after two minutes, the penalty try after seven. At that stage the Force were all over the Reds, dominating possession and on the attack when James Hilgendorf threw a long pass to his right towards Digby Ioane who was on an overlap. In desperation Peter Hynes went to for the high ball, palm down, and knocked the ball down.

The referee, who had plenty of advice throughout the match and twice penalised the Reds for dissent, had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try and sending Hynes to the sin bin. (The Reds were penalised once for fighting, once for a late tackle and twice for dissent in the match though they "won" the penalty count 13-11.)

The Force were confident and running and twice came within an ace of scoring, once when Rudi Vedelago lost the ball at the line in Quade Cooper's tackle and once when Ryan Cross lost the ball in the left corner in John Roe's tackle.

Hines came back and the Reds had a good passage of play and goaled a penalty from close and in front.

Three minutes later disaster struck the Reds. They attacked down the right and Scott Fava made a great left-handed catch of a difficult pass, charged and then, tackled by Andrew Walker, popped a brilliant pass to Chris O'Young who scored the try.

That was bad for the Reds but not a disaster. In the move Hines had lifted Drew Mitchell off the ground and tipped him up in a dangerous tackle. This earned Hynes a second yellow card. Two yellow cards = a red card, and the Reds, already in trouble, played the next 54 minutes with 14 men.

Just before half-time Roe was off-side when Walker did a chip and Shepherd goaled to make the score 18-3 at the break.

The Reds had a promising attack spoilt when Mitchell Chapman knocked on. When James Horwell was penalised for a tackle that was late and armless, Shepherd's made it 21-3 and then, after Hilgendorf was close to scoring a try, 24-3.

Cooper had a great break to the line when he beat two opponents, beat Mitchell with a gigantic sidestep to his left and was almost over when Ioane mowed him down.

The Reds turned two penalties into five-metre line-outs but lost the second and the Force survived.

From a harmless looking line-out the Force went right with decoy and skip to get the ball to Shepherd on the touch-line. The tall left wing handed off Henry Veratau and then Andrew Walker to score the Force's third try.

There were four minutes left and the Force again looked likely to score when O'Young broke on the left and then Hilgendorf lofted a high diagonal to the right but Ben Tune saved with a tackle on Ioane at the corner.

Then, to end the evening, Shepherd gave Richard Brown a perfect pass on the left. The flank ran straight ahead and in the tackle passed inside to Ioane who wept down the field in a run of some 40 metres, beating Walker with scything ease and scored at the posts. The siren went, Shepherd converted, and Subiaco Oval had its second gleeful result in a row.

Man of the Match: The obvious candidates are Cameron Shepherd, not only for all the points he scored, the halfbacks, James Hilgendorf and Chris O'Young, provocative Drew Mitchell and our choice for skill, strength and effort Scott Fava.

The scorers:

For the Western Force:

Tries: Penalty try, O'Young, Shepherd, Ioane

Cons: Shepherd 3

Pens: Shepherd 4

For the Reds:

Pen: Walker

Red card: Hynes (Reds, two yellow cards - 7 professional foul, deliberate knockdown; 28 foul play, spear tackle)

Teams:

Western Force: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Digby Ioane, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Junior Pelesasa, 11 Cameron Shepherd, 10 James Hilgendorf, 9 Chris O'Young, 8 Scott Fava, 7 David Pocock, 6 Richard Brown, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Rudi Vedelago, 3 AJ Whalley, 2 Brendan Cannon, 1 Gareth Hardy.

Replacements: 16 Tai McIsaac, 17 Angus Scott, 18 Luke Doherty, 19 Matt Hodgson, 20 Jon McGrath, 21 Scott Daruda. 22 Lachlan MacKay

Reds: 15 Andrew Walker, 14 Brando Va'aulu, 13 Ben Tune, 12 Lloyd Johansson, 11 Peter Hynes, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 John Roe (c), 7 David Croft, 6 Mitch Chapman, 5 James Horwill, 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 Tama Tuirirangi, 2 Sean Hardman, 1 Herman Hunt.

Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Ernest Skelton, 18 Cam Treloar, 19 Tom McVerry, 20 Nic Berry, 21 Charlie Fetoai, 22 Henry Veratau

Referee: Brett Bowden (Australia)

Touch judges: Andrew Lindsay (Australia) James Scholtens (Australia)

Television match official: Ian Smith (Australia)

Assessor: Wayne Erickson (Australia)

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