Wallabies star produces statement performance in front of Joe Schmidt as Western Force hammer Fijian Drua

Adam Kyriacou
Ben Donaldson in action for Western Force.

Ben Donaldson in action for Western Force.

Western Force picked up just their third victory of the Super Rugby Pacific campaign as they dominated the Fijian Drua, winning 48-10 at HBF Park on Saturday.

Tries from Chase Tiatia, Carlo Tizzano, Michael Wells, Lopeti Faifua, Bayley Kuenzle and Ben Donaldson saw them to the five points as they moved off the foot of the table.

Selestino Ravutaumada scored for the Drua who remain in eighth spot, with Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula slotting a conversion and penalty in a disappointing defeat in Perth.

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The success sees the Force jump above the Waratahs, Crusaders and Moana Pasifika at the wrong end of the standings, with those three sides all losing over the weekend.

Donaldson was the star of the show for the Force as he put in a statement showing in front of a watching Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt, finishing up with 23 points.

Western Force started the match in impressive style when lock Jeremy Williams galloped from halfway into the opposition’s 22 before sending Tiatia over on the left wing.

The conversion from outstanding fly-half Donaldson was solid, and the Force were well worth their 7-0 lead as they caught the Drua cold in the final game of the round.

Wallabies head coach Schmidt was an interested observer at the stadium and would have been impressed with the Force’s second try from a well-worked lineout. Hooker Tom Horton wrapped around after his throw before the next phase saw openside flanker Tizzano pick quickly from the breakdown and dive over the whitewash.

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Donaldson then made it 17-0 with a penalty for an offside, but the Drua did have something to show at the end of the first period thanks to an Armstrong-Ravula penalty.

The Drua continued where they left off shortly after the resumption when Ravutaumada crossed for a much-needed try that was converted by fly-half Armstrong-Ravula.

But that was as good as things got for the visitors as the Force then put the pedal to the floor and racked up four second-half scores, starting with Wells on 57 minutes.

Donaldson’s conversion made it 27-10 before Reed Prinsep’s line break was followed by an assist to replacement lock Faifua, with Donaldson making it a 32-10 buffer.

There was more to come as Kurtley Beale’s flat pass to the impressive Kuenzle led to the latter passing back and forth to hooker Tim Horton before the centre crossed.

But the best was saved until last when Donaldson sliced through a gap near halfway before pinning his ears back to beat the last man on the outside to ice a fine shift.

The teams

Force: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 George Poolman, 13 Bayley Kuenzle, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Nic White, 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Will Harris, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Jeremy Williams (c), 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Marley Pearce
Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 19 Lopeti Faifua, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Henry Robertson, 22 Sam Spink, 23 Henry O’Donnell

Drua: 15 Ilaisa Droasese, 14 Selestino Ravutaumada, 13 Iosefo Masi, 12 Michael Naitokani, 11 Taniela Rakuro, 10 Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, 9 Peni Matawalu, 8 Meli Derenalagi (c), 7 Kitione Salawa, 6 Vilive Miramira, 5 Isoa Nasilasila, 4 Mesake Vocevoce, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Tevita Ikanivere, 1 Haereiti Hetet
Replacements: 16 Zuriel Togiatama, 17 Emosi Tuqiri, 18 Samu Tawake, 19 Leone Rotuisolia, 20 Motikiai Murray, 21 Simione Kuruvoli, 22 Kemu Valetini, 23 Epeli Momo

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