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Perth, Australia – Western Force's winning streak continued with a 28-16 win over NSW Waratahs in Super 15 action in Perth.
The Force made it five successive wins for the first time in their history with another outstanding defensive effort to grind down the Waratahs, who enjoyed the lion's share of possession for most of the match.
Emerging cult hero Nick Cummins was the match winner for the Force as they won their first ever home match against the Waratahs, running in three tries.
Cummins has attracted worldwide attention for his offbeat and colourful interviews, but let his rugby do the talking, twice sprinting almost the length of the field to score.
Although the Force suffered several injuries during the match, they held firm defensively despite the Waratahs constantly threatening with ball in hand.
Having held the Waikato Chiefs and Melbourne Rebels tryless in their previous two home games, the Force threatened to do the same to the Waratahs for much of the match.
Time and again the Waratahs pressed, but each time the Force held strong, and when Cummins ran in his third try in the 61st minute, the home team incredibly led 25-9.
The Waratahs were ruing the absence of star playmaker Israel Folau, controversially ruled out by the Australian Rugby Union the day before the match.
Folau was set to make his comeback from a throat injury, before the ARU ruled him out.
The 'Tahs finally got their first try in the 66th minute, with Kurtley Beale diving over in the corner, but they couldn't make any further impression on the Force's lead.
Cummins had the game of his career, and made his first serious impact in the 27th minute.
The Waratahs looked certain to score the first try of the match, only for the Force winger to intercept a pass and sprint the length of the field to score under the posts.
Cummins added a second try in the 50th minute.
Alby Mathewson made a clever linebreak and dished off to Cummins, who dived over in the corner for his double.
Cummins added his third when he pounced on a loose ball after a Waratahs handling error.
He again charged down the field and although he was brought down just short of the line, Cummins was able to get up and roll over for the try.
Force skipper Matt Hodgson was rapt with how his side blunted the attacking thrusts of the Waratahs.
“It was a game won on our defence,” he said.
Waratahs captain Dave Dennis also paid tribute to the defence of the Force.
“We put them under a lot of pressure,” he said.
“We were a bit unlucky, but good defence from them kept us out.” – Sapa-AFP