The Western Force ended a decade’s worth of heartache by claiming their first win over the Brumbies since 2013, defeating their Super Rugby Pacific rivals 34-19.
Much was made of the Brumbies’ decision to rest their star players and make wholesale changes for the match, and the Force punished them.
The Perth-based side scored four tries to the Brumbies’ three to keep their hopes of making the play-offs alive.
The Force raced into a 21-0 lead before the half-hour mark, with Felix Kalapu, Hamish Stewart and Sam Spink dotting down in the opening 25 minutes. Max Burey added the three conversions with the latter two tries coming while Brumbies pivot Jack Debreczeni was in the sin bin.
Playing against his former employers, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa was on top of his game, assisting two tries for the hosts. The first was a simple pass to Kalapu, who ran a good line to dive over the whitewash from close range.
He almost did the same for hooker Folau Faingaa, but he was brilliantly held up over the line as the Force dominated the opening exchanges.
It was at this point that Debreczeni was sent to the sin bin for an accumulation of team penalties. Soon after, Fines-Leleiwasa whipped the ball out off the back of the scrum to a rampaging Stewart, who sliced through the defence to dot down.
The Force’s third try also came from a scrum as Stewart linked up well with centre partner Spink who further extended their lead.
The Brumbies fought back in the latter stages of the first half, with Charlie Clare and Darcy Swain crossing the whitewash with scrum-half Ryan Lonergan adding one conversion.
Clare’s score was the pick of the match as the Brumbies launched an attack from inside their half, with winger Corey Toole speeding down the touchline and had the flanker in support who rounded off the chance.
Holding out for the win
Swain muscled past a few Force defenders to score his second try in as many weeks as the Force went into the break with a 21-12 lead.
Burey quickly extended that lead with an early second-half penalty. The Brumbies threatened a comeback when Luke Reimer’s score and Lonergan’s conversions made it a three-point game, but the Force rallied late to seal the win.
Replacement prop Marley Pearce scored in the final 10 minutes of the match, with Burley converting and adding a penalty to seal the result.
Video credit: Super Rugby Pacific
The result means the Forced end a 14-game losing streak to the Brumbies, their first victory since the 21-15 success during the 2013 Super Rugby season.
The victors face the Melbourne Rebels next, while the Brumbies will look to bounce back quickly with a crunch clash with league leaders, the Chiefs.