WATCH: Gareth Simpson sets up try with DEFT chip in Western Force loss to Highlanders

Dylan Coetzee

Western Force scrum-half Gareth Simpson had a moment of brilliance in his side’s 43-35 loss to the Highlanders on Sunday in Super Rugby Pacific.

Simpson took the ball from the back of the maul and looked left, but a rushing Highlanders defender had cut off the pass. So he calmly turned around, looked at his options, and when he realised he had none, Simpson launched the most audacious chip in behind the defensive line.

Wing Zach Kibirige was wise to this and sprinted through to score what ended up being a well-worked try!

Meanwhile, earlier on, it was Force who broke the deadlock after six minutes with a Bryce Hegarty penalty and added another three after 13 minutes.

However, it would only take nine minutes for the Highlanders to respond through a Jonah Lowe try converted by Sam Gilbert, who also kicked a penalty in the 28th minute.

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Kibirige would score his try, set up by Simpson, in the 36th minute before Mitch Hunt crashed over on the stroke of half-time.

The Force would draw first blood again in the second period through Tom Horton in the 44th minute before Gilbert scored and converted a try of his own four minutes later.

Hegarty got in on the try-scoring action minutes later, which was converted by Bayley Kuenzle on this occasion.

The Highlanders would grab hold of the game and scored three unanswered tries through Sean Withy, a second for Lowe and Hugh Renton, with Gilbert converting two and Renton the third.

It seemed all said and done, but the Force finished with a spark, scoring two late consolation tries through Siosifa Amone and Ollie Callan.

The win sees the Highlanders claim their first win in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific, much to the relief of the Dunedin fans.

Video credit: Super Rugby Pacific

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