Planet Rugby

Force claim ding-ding battle with Reds

05th April 2014 11:29

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Force full-back Jayden Hayward scored a 78th-minute try to snatch a 32-29 victory over the Reds in a Brisbane thriller on Saturday.

The result means the team from Perth have now won four Super Rugby games in a row - for the first time in their history - as they leap up into the top half of the standings.

The lead changed hands no less than nine times in a gripping clash that saw the visitors outscore the Reds three tries to two.

A ding-dong battle in an entertaining first half ended in a deadlock at 17-all, and the pattern continued right up to the final whistle as Quade Cooper missed a drop goal that would have levelled matters after the final hooter.

The Force showed their intent to keep ball in hand from the start and were rewarded for their enterprise with a 12-0 lead at the end of the first quarter as Sias Ebersohn knocked over four penalties.

The Reds were allowed to get back into the game by a yellow card to Force flank Angus Cottrell for a shoulder charge.

The home side immediately made the extra man count as Ben Tapuai was given acres of space in midfield to cruise home for an easy try after the Reds has sucked in the Force defence having opted for a line-out from the penalty.

Cooper added the extras and the Reds would soon double their score as James Slipper didn't need a huge overlap to storm over. Cooper's conversion gave the Reds the lead for the first time at 14-12 with all the hosts' points coming during Cottrell's spell in the sin-bin.

A try from Force number eight Ben McCalman put the visitors back in front though, following a 16-phrase build up as the men from Perth again impressed with their ability to maintain possession.

Ebersohn missed the conversion meaning a Cooper penalty after the half-time hooter sent the teams into the change rooms all-square.

Mike Harris took over the kicking duties from Cooper and broke the deadlock 15 minutes into the second half.

But the Force hit back on the hour mark as Luke Morahan crossed out wide after a textbook build up. A bad miss earlier from Ebersohn meant that Hayward attempted the conversion, but he too was wide of the mark.

The see-saw battle continued with a Harris penalty restoring the Reds' lead at 23-22 only to see Ebersohn hit a long-range drop goal to make it 25-23 to the visitors.

Harris landed this third three-pointer to give the Reds a one-point headstart going into the final ten minutes and the former champions looked to have done enough when Harris again split the uprights to make it 29-25.

But the Force would have the last laugh.

Another 16-phase build up ended with Hayward finding a gap before beating the last two defenders to score a great try. The full-back converted his own try to leave the Reds with one minute to save the game, but Cooper's last-gasp drop was well wide.

The scorers:

For Reds:
Tries: Tapuai, Slipper
Cons: Cooper 2
Pens: Cooper, Harris 4

For Force:
Tries: McCalman, Morahan, Hayward
Con: Hayward
Pens: Ebersohn 4
Drop: Ebersohn
Yellow card: Cottrell

Reds: 15 Ben Lucas, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper
Replacements: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Pettowa Paraka, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Anthony Fainga'a, 23 Jonah Placid

Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Solomoni 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: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ian Smith (Australia)
TMO: Steve Leszczynski (Australia)

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