Force win first game in 10 as 'Tahs slump to another loss
SYDNEY – Western Force rallied from 13 points down to win their first Super Rugby game in 10 attempts on Friday and pile more misery on the NSW Waratahs who crashed to a third successive defeat.
The Perth-based team came into the clash at Sydney having slumped in their Super Rugby AU season opener to the ACT Brumbies, which followed eight straight losses on their return to the top flight in 2020.
But with a more experienced squad this year, boosted by the likes of former Wallaby centre Tevita Kuridrani and Argentina's Santiago Medrano, they finally snapped the streak with a battling 20-16 victory.
Fergus Lee-Warner and Tim Anstee bagged tries and Ian Prior booted a late penalty to ensure the win despite playing the last 15 minutes with a man down after Andrew Ready was sent off.
"Just proud of the fellas tonight, the last 20 minutes was really tough," said Force skipper Brynard Stander.
"There was a lot of character shown. We did everything we could to stick behind each other and I think that's what got us the result."
It was another crushing loss for the 'Tahs, but they took heart from a much better performance, tightening up their defence after leaking 102 points in record defeats to the Brumbies and Queensland Reds in their opening two games.
"It's hard to take, but proud of the guys, especially stepping up from the last couple of weeks," said Waratahs captain Alex Newsome.
"Unfortunately there was a few errors at critical moments where we turned the ball over and gave up territory. But I thought it was a good step forward for us."
In a confidence-booster, David Porecki dotted down for a 'Tahs try after just four minutes from a well-worked lineout maul, with Will Harrison converting.
Harrison then slotted two penalties to put them 13-0 ahead.
But a lapse in concentration allowed the Force back into the game, with flanker Anstee shaking off two tackles before offloading to Lee-Warner who finished the move.
Jake McIntyre added the conversion then a penalty to send the visitors to the break trailing 13-10.
Anstee was again in the thick of the action early in the second stanza, coming round the back of the lineout and crashing over with McIntyre converting to put the Force in front.
When Ready was sent off for a punch to the head, it opened the door again for the 'Tahs and Harrison booted a penalty to close the gap to 16-17 with eight minutes left, only for Prior to seal the win with a late penalty.