April 13 New South Wales Waratahs held off a
stirring Western Force fightback to secure a 23-18 victory in
their Super Rugby match in Perth on Friday.
Tries from Tom Kingston and Dave Dennis gave the visitors a
17-3 lead but the Force battled back to take the lead briefly
and by the end the Waratahs were hanging on.
The Force scored two tries through Brett Sheehan and Alfie
Mafi in the second half but will rue the start they gave to the
Waratahs as they fell to yet another close defeat.
"It was a tough night," Waratahs captain Benn Robinson said
in a pitchside interview. "Early on in the second half we made
some silly errors and let them back into the game."
The first half featured plenty of tactical kicking,
collapsing scrums and sloppy errors but the Waratahs produced a
moment of genuine class with the opening try in the 24th minute.
Coming from a turnover deep in their own half, the ball
passed through five pairs of hands before flying winger Kingston
raced down the touchline to score his fourth try in the last
The Waratahs laid siege to the home line in search of a
second try for a full five minutes before halftime but were
unable to breach the Force's defence and went in 10-3 up.
The Force were still a man down two minutes after the
restart having had prop Salesi Ma'afu sin-binned for collapsing
the scrum when flanker Dennis came storming round the front of
the line-out to dash 30 metres to score.
The Force finally got across the Waratahs line when
scrumhalf Sheehan scored against his former team under a pile of
bodies after 51 minutes to cut the deficit to 17-8.
Now it was the home side's turn to lay siege to their
opponents' line and, once Waratahs fullback Bernard Foley had
been shown a yellow card, quick ball out to the wing allowed
fullback Mafi to cross untouched.
David Harvey kicked his second penalty after 64 minutes to
put the Force in front for the first time but the lead lasted
just 60 seconds before Berrick Barnes put the Waratahs back
ahead with his first.
The Wallabies flyhalf added another three points five
minutes from the end and the Waratahs survived a late flurry to
take their third win in seven matches this season.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Alison
sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport))