July 11, 2020 / 12:02 PM / a month ago

Waratahs ruin Force's hopes of fairytale return

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The New South Wales Waratahs ensured the Western Force did not pick up where they left off three years ago as they came back from a 14-point deficit to record a 23-14 victory in Super Rugby AU at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

The Force were playing their first Super Rugby fixture in three years after controversially being dumped from the competition following the 2017 season.

The Perth-based team’s last game in Super Rugby was a 40-11 victory over the Waratahs.

The Waratahs had won just one of their seven games across both Super Rugby and the local competition this season and looked destined to be heading for another defeat as the visitors went out to a 14-0 lead in the first half.

Winger Byron Raltson had scored the Force’s first try in Super Rugby AU when he finished off a well-worked move that had stretched the home side across the field, while scrumhalf Ian Prior kicked three penalties.

A late try to Waratahs prop Angus Bell and conversion by flyhalf Will Harrison after the halftime hooter reduced the deficit to 14-7 at the break.

Harrison added two further penalties as the game meandered between the 22-metre areas with neither side really threatening or building sustained pressure.

Replacement lock Tom Staniforth, however, bashed over in the 62nd-minute to give the Waratahs their first lead of the match and from that point on his side never looked like being overtaken as they controlled the ball and territory.

Harrison added his third penalty with six minutes remaining to end the scoring.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ken Ferris

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