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Reds prevail in Perth

11th June 2011 12:56

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Job done: Reds celebrate their win

The Reds booked themselves a home play-off spot after scoring a late try to beat the Western Force 24-21 in Perth on Saturday.

It looked like another upset was on the cards with the Force five points in front and three minutes of the match remaining.

However, replacement back Dom Shipperley took a long Quade Cooper pass, dived over in the corner and broke Western Force hearts in a repeat of the last meeting between the two sides that ended in a last-gasp victory for the Queenslanders.

The Force wasted little time getting on the scoreboard first thanks to a long-range penalty kick from James O'Connor with barely two minutes gone on the clock.

The home side were celebrating their first try when centre Rory Sidey took an O'Connor offload and dotted down for his first of two tries of the evening.

O'Connor missed the conversion from bang in front, but the Force meant business whilst the Reds were struggling to get their hands on the ball early on

A rare touch of the pigskin was an intercept from Cooper, who grabbed hold of a Sidey pass and raced a good 70m for an opportunistic try in the corner. Cooper added the touchline conversion, and made it a one-point ball game (8-7) after 12 minutes played.

The hosts were hit with a massive blow when influential skipper Nathan Sharpe was forced off the field with an ankle injury, which may spell the end of his Super Rugby season.

A few minutes later, Sidey was over for try number two and once again O'Connor failed to add the extras. It allowed the Reds to sneak in front with another converted try - this time to Scott Higginbotham, after the flank scooped up the ball that made its way through the tunnel of the scrum and galloped 20m to score in the same corner as Cooper.

It took half an hour, but the Reds finally were in front for the first time in the match (13-14).

The Queenslanders' lead didn't last long though, after O'Connor slotted his second successful penalty to take his team into the half-time sheds 16-14 ahead.

The Reds came out firing in the second half and retook the lead just two minutes after the break thanks to a Cooper penalty. From then on in, it was an arm-wrestle between the two sides - with neither really threatening the tryline.

That was until 13 minutes from full-time when Force flanker David Pocock took a Sidey pass and powered his way over in the right-hand corner for a try confirmed by the TMO. O'Connor's range was still off though, as his third conversion attempt went wide.

It meant the Reds only required a try to win the match, and they did just that.

For Force:
Tries: Sidey 2, Pocock
Cons: O'Connor
Pens: O'Connor 2

For Reds:
Tries: Cooper, Higginbotham, Shipperley
Cons: Cooper 3
Pen: Cooper

Western Force: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Patrick Dellit, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 David Smith, 10 James Stannard, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Matt Dunning, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Kieran Longbottom.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Tim Fairbrother, 18 Tom Hockings, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Mark Swanepoel, 21 Mitch Inman, 22 Alfie Mafi.

Reds:15 Jono Lance, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Will Chambers, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Rod Davies, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements:16 James Hanson, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jake Schatz, 20 Ben Coridas, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Dom Shipperley.

Referee: Stuart Dickinson

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