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Western Force win away for first time in a year

Super Rugby

BUENOS AIRES – Western Force won on the road in Super Rugby for the first time since last May when they upset the Jaguares 16-6 in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

The Perth outfit remained fourth in the Australian conference despite a win clinched five minutes from time by a try from substitute forward Isi Naisarani.

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Isi Naisarani scored a late try to secure victory for the Western Force against the Jaguares. Photo: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

He achieved the seemingly improbable by barging between two opponents and stretching to dot down at Estadio Jose Amalfitani.

Although second last in the standings, Force are just six points behind Australian leaders Brumbies and four of their remaining five fixtures are at home. However, the next Super Rugby visitors to Perth are the last two title-holders, the Highlanders and Hurricanes of New Zealand.

The Force are desperate for victories to prove they are worthy of retention in the competition next year ahead of last-placed Melbourne Rebels.

One of those two Australian sides, plus two from South Africa, will be axed in a finance-related Super Rugby revamp that cuts the number of teams from 18 to 15.

By scoring, Naisarani deprived the Jaguares of even a losing bonus point and left them nine points behind the Sharks in the race for a quarter-final place.

In a scrappy, error-riddled match, a record low score for a Super Rugby game seemed possible at halftime as Force led 3-0 through a penalty from scrumhalf Ian Prior.

With an hour gone there were only six points on the board, flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez having equalised with a penalty.

The unwanted record of fewest points was set in 2009, when the Hurricanes defeated the Crusaders 6-0 in a New Zealand derby.

Finally, the scoring tempo in Buenos Aires increased as Prior and Hernandez exchanged penalties within four minutes.

The first try came 12 minute from time when persistent Force pressure paid off as Prior sent wing Alex Newsome over far out, but failed to convert. Prior also missed the conversion of the Naisarani try, but it did not matter as the Jaguares had run out of try-scoring ideas in their worst home display this season.

The score-line would have been more embarrassing for the Argentines, who started with 14 Test players, had a harsh obstruction call not ruled out a Force try from replacement back James Verity-Amm.

Force had the best back on view in wing Semisi Masirewa, and the Australians scrummaged powerfully until tighthead prop Lucas Noguera Paz came on and made an immediate impact.

The Australians host 2015 champions Highlanders next Saturday, while the Jaguares have a bye before another home fixture against the Brumbies.

Points-Scorers

Jaguares 6 – Penalties: Juan Martin Hernandez (2).

Force 16 – Tries: Alex Newsome, Isi Naisarani. Penalties: Ian Prior (2).

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