Force demolish rookie Rebels
REPORT: The Western Force beat a young and inexperienced Melbourne Rebels outfit 27-5 in their second pre-season Super Rugby match on the Gold Coast on Monday.
The Rebels shot out to score first, but that would be their only major for the rest of the match as the Force piled on five tries to run away with the win.
Force coach Dave Wessels says that while it was a good win, there is still plenty to work on and they will need to play better in order to beat the Waratahs in Round One.
"We left too much out there, we were poor in some of the contact areas and I just had to remind the men that we beat the Hurricanes in pre-season last year and then didn't win a game for a while," Wessels said.
"We have to go really hard at the opportunities out there and there were plenty of them today, so we have a lot of work to do if we want to beat the Waratahs in Round One."
Wessels went on to say that there were some impressive players for the Force, including new recruit Chance Peni.
"The great thing about Chance is he goes at 100 percent, he really flies into everything. He's been a great addition to the squad on and off the field, so I'm really pleased for him and he'll take a lot of confidence out of his performance."
The Rebels started well, putting the Western Force under pressure with quick ball and pressure at the breakdown.
They took the early advantage when Chance Peni was shown a yellow card after being deemed offside by the referee and the Melbourne wasted no time with the extra player as big man Steve Cummins crashed over for the opening try of the match. Maddox couldn't convert, leaving the score at 5-0.
It didn't take long for the Force to strike back, after a fantastic line from Luke Morahan splitting the Rebels defence, he was brought down just shy of the line and Brynard Stander blasted his way over to finish the good work. Jono Lance couldn't convert and left the score locked at 5-all.
The Force then placed relentless pressure on the Rebels defence and struck again, through new recruit Bill Meakes, who stepped his way through the Rebels defence and scored his first try in the blue jersey. Lance couldn't convert, 10-5.
With the match being played in quarters, the Western Force went into the first break with a 10-5 lead and made no changes to their side for the second quarter.
Both sides came out hard in the second quarter, but neither team could break the line with the defensive lines holding strong.
It took 14 minutes for the next score, with the Force doing the damage, after a cracking line-break from Chance Pen.
The Force had a scrum on their 22, the ball was then swept out to the right wing with Ryan Louwrens offloading to Peni, who stepped through the last line of defence and dotted down his first five-pointer for the Western Force. Lance again couldn't convert leaving the Force's lead at 15-5.
It took the Force two minutes to hit the scoreboard after the half-time break, with the team putting together some strong phase work before speedster Luke Morahan got the ball out wide and finished beautifully in the right-hand corner. Ian Prior took over the kicking duties, but couldn't convert, 20-5.
The scoring dried up from there, as neither side could break through the last line of defence, and at the end of the third quarter, the Force went into the break with a 15-point lead.
The men from the West once again started with a bang, after a line-out just outside the 22, young Force foundation product James Verity-Amm ran a beautiful line, slicing through the Melbourne defence and then offloading to new signing Alex Newsome who finished under the posts. Ian Prior converted and the Force stretched their lead to 27-5.
That would be the end score line for the match, with the Rebels pushing hard to finish on a high note, controlling the ball in their 22 for the last five minutes of the game, but the Force defence was outstanding, holding the Rebels at bay until the final whistle.
For the Melbourne Rebels:
For the Western Force:
Tries: Stander, Meakes, Peni, Morahan, Newsome
Yellow card: Chance Peni (Western Force, 3 - cynical foul, offside)
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Tom English, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Harley Fox, 7 Jordy Reid, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Cruze Ah-Nau.
Replacements - from: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Jordan Uelese. 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Ben Volavola, 24 Mick Snowden, 25 Jonah Placid, 26 Nick Kellaway, 27 Jack McGregor, 28 Fereti Sa'aga, 29 Ikapote Tupai, 30 Dennis Pili-Gaitau, 31 Semisi Tupou.
Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Kane Koteka, 5 Ross Haylett-Petty, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Shambeckler Vui, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: Not confirmed
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Rohan Hoffman (Australia)