Brumbies fight back to sink Force
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Brumbies scored a late try against a 14-man Western Force to win a tight match 25-17 and record their first win of the 2017 Super Rugby season on Friday.
The Force were leading 17-13 with 10 minutes to go when lock Ross Haylett-Petty was shown a yellow card for a late tackle on Brumbies scrumhalf Joe Powell.
The home side took full advantage as centre Kyle Godwin and replacement hooker Robbie Abel touched down to overhaul the Force and secure their first win after two close losses.
"It's a massive relief - we're a pretty young side and we're learning to win," Brumbies captain Sam Carter said.
"The last couple of weeks have been tough but it's good to get a win."
The Force, who needed to win to ensure they stay top of the Australian conference, opened the match full of intent and looked dangerous every time they touched the ball as they spun it wide.
They had two golden oportunities early but Chance Peni was denied a try when he was called for a double movement, before a pass went behind him soon after with the tryline open.
The Brumbies absorbed the pressure then began to work their way into the game, and were rewarded when Wallaby wing Henry Speight crashed over from close to the line to open the scoring.
The home side used their superior scrum to dominate the Force and they doubled their advantage six minutes before the break when New Zealand-born flyhalf Wharenui Hawera crossed following some good lead up work by Powell.
But right on half-time the Force finally got on the board, hooker Heath Tessmann crashing over at the back of a rolling maul from an attacking line-out.
The visitors started the second half the way they started the first but this time they were rewarded for some expansive running rugby with a try in the corner to Peni three minutes after the restart.
Flyhalf Jono Lance converted from the sideline to give the Force a 14-10 lead.
A Harewa penalty narrowed the gap to 14-13 with 15 minutes to go only for Lance to restore the four point advantage from a scrum penalty two minutes later.
But the Force were dealt a huge blow minutes from full-time when Haylett-Petty came through a line-out and took out Powell.
From the next play Godwin crossed against his former team to put the home side ahead, then Abel, who had only been on the field a matter of minutes, barged over at the back of a rolling maul.
Man of the match: Brumbies lock Rory Arnold was immense in the physical exchanges and deserves the award.
Tries: Speight, Hawera, Godwin Abel
For Western Force:
Tries: Tessmann, Peni
Cons: Lance 2
Yellow card: Ross Haylett-Petty (Western Force, 71 - foul play, late tackle with no arms)
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Ben Hyne, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Leslie Leulua'Iali'I-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Tom Staniforth, 21 Lolo Fakaosilea, 22 De Wet Roos, 23 Andrew Smith.
Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Chance Peni, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Heath Tessmann (captain), 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Onehunga Havili Kaufusi, 20 Isi Naisarani, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Ian Prior, 23 Robbie Coleman.
Referee: Peter Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)