Planet Rugby

Bonus-point win for Force in Dunedin

15th March 2014 08:19

Share:

Junior Rasolea of the Force v Highlanders 2014

Bonus-point try: Junior Rasolea

A last-minute conversion hit the post to hand the Force a 31-29 victory over the Highlanders in Saturday's Super Rugby clash at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The result is the Australian side's sixth consecutive win over the Highlanders, who will be kicking themselves for butchering a number of opportunities as they made a late comeback.

The home side enjoyed the lion's share of territory and possession but were punished for poor execution and decision making by a Force outfit that took their chances clinically.

The Force outscored their hosts three tries to one in the first half to lead 21-16 at the interval but had to hang on with 13 men in the dying stages.

The Force struck first when hooker Nathan Charles produced a great show-and-go to jinx the Highlanders defence and score inside three minutes.

Sias Ebersohn added the conversion but Lima Sopoaga slotted three penalties to give the Highlanders a 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The visitors landed a sucker punch to regain the lead as Ebersohn intercepted on halfway and raced home untouched with his conversion giving the Force a five-point lead at 14-9.

The Highlanders were rewarded for their positive endeavour when Shaun Treeby latched onto Aaron Smith's grubber to touch down. Sopoaga added the extras put the hosts back in front.

But Ben McCalman ensured his team would go into the break with their noses ahead thanks to powerful run from the number eight, who crashed over under the sticks.

Ebersohn's third conversion meant the Force held the advantage at 21-16 as the teams swapped ends.

The Force fly-half kicked over a penalty to extend the gap to eight points early in the second period before Junior Rasolea bagged the bonus-point try after charging down Sopoaga and amazingly hanging onto the ball and finishing in the corner.

Ebersohn maintained his perfect record from the kicking tee as the Force took a 15-point head-start into the final quarter.

The Highlanders' reply wasn't long in coming though as Malakai Fekitoa muscled his way over from short range after a patient build up from the hosts. Sopoaga missed the conversion though to leave the Highlanders trailing at 31-21.

The Highlanders stepped up the pressure and Sopoaga's fourth penalty brought them within striking distance going into the final ten minutes.

The Force seemed to have shoot themselves in the foot, conceding two yellow cards in quick succession (Adam Coleman and Ben McCalman) but the Highlanders conspired to make a hash of what looked like a sure five points from a five metre scrum.

It took the Highlanders eight minutes to finally get over the line as Hayden Parker crossed out wide but the replacement fly-half hit the upright with his conversion as the hooter sounded to hand the Force victory.

The scorers:

For Highlanders:
Tries: Treeby, Fekitoa, Parker
Cons: Sopoaga
Pens: Sopoaga 4

For Western Force:
Tries: Charles, Ebersohn, McCalman, Rasolea
Cons: Ebersohn 4
Pen: Ebersohn
Yellow cards: Coleman, McCalman

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Kurt Baker, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Shane Christie, 6 John Hardie, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 Craig Millar, 19 Josh Bekhuis, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Phil Burleigh.

Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Junior Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Marcel Brache.

Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , September 21
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Brive 13 - 53 ToulonBrive vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Exeter310
4Leicester Tigers39
5Harlequins38