Wallabies half-backs inspire Western Force to first win over Crusaders in 11 years

Dylan Coetzee
Western Force scrum-half Nic White.

Western Force scrum-half Nic White.

Wallabies stars Nic White and Ben Donaldson were once again at the centre of the Western Force’s success as they claimed their first win over the Crusaders since 2013 triumphing 37-15 in Perth.

The hosts scored four tries on the night through Chase Tiatia, Tom Horton, Sam Carter and Carlo Tizzano, while Ben Donaldson kicked one conversion and five penalties on the night.

The Crusaders managed three unconverted tries through Levi Aumua, George Bell and Sevu Reece, who became the leading all-time try scorer for the Christchurch side albeit in a losing cause.

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It was the visitors who got the game underway with Aumua’s early try just four minutes into the game. Force would form some sort of response before the 10-minute mark with Donaldson’s first penalty.

The Force began to build momentum and, after a while, were rewarded with a neat Tiatia try which was unconverted. However, Donaldson did tick over the scoreboard in the 24th minute with another penalty. The pendulum stayed with the hosts, who piled on huge pressure to crash over for a try through Horton on the stroke of half-time, giving them a commanding position at the break.

Donaldson would have the first say of the second period, adding another three points after four minutes, which was followed by Bell’s try as the Crusaders started to find some patterns in their gameplay. Those patterns would again be disrupted by Donaldson’s boot as the Wallaby continuously kept his side just out of reach.

Desperate to find a way, the Crusaders pushed on and got rewarded through Reece’s record-breaking try on the hour mark, but once again, the conversion was missed.

The Force fly-half would add one last penalty five minutes later before his side powered home with two tries in the last 10 minutes through Carter and Tizzano as Donaldson kicked the last conversion with the clock in the red.

It is a massive win for the Force who have had to wait more than a decade for such an occasion.


Force: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Bayley Kuenzle, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Nic White (c), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Will Harris, 5 Thomas Franklin, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Ryan Coxon
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Marley Pearce, 18 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22 Max Burey, 23 Henry O’Donnell

Crusaders: 15 Chay Fihaki, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Macca Springer, 10 Riley Hohepa, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Tom Christie (c), 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Jamie Hannah, 4 Quinten Strange, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Brodie McAlister, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 George Bell, 17 George Bower, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Dom Gardiner, 20 Cullen Grace, 21 Noah Hotham, 22 Rivez Reihana, 23 Ryan Crotty

READ MORE: Super Rugby: Two All Blacks lead legendary list of all-time try scorers