Force pip Kings in try-fest
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Western Force were able to edge out the Kings 46-41 in a 12-try encounter that saw the momentum of the match change hands on numerous occasions.
With the two sides expected to learn immediately after the match that they would be dropped from the competition by SANZAAR, they put on a freewheeling display of attacking rugby to run in 12 tries.
Nine of those came in an extraordinary second half where defence went out the window.
If both teams had the weight of the Super Rugby world on their shoulders, they didn't show it and the Kings looked set for victory when they ran in two tries in three minutes for a 35-28 lead after 64 minutes.
However, the Force then piled on three tries of their own in 10 minutes, the third a penalty try, to snatch the win on an emotional day. Up 15-7 at the break, the Force conceded two tries, to Yaw Penxe and Malcom Jaer, in the first three minutes after the resumption.
They steadied to lead 25-24, but lost their way when Kings captain Lionel Cronje bamboozled them with a sleight of hand in the 62nd minute and set up an easy try for Penxe with a chip kick.
Two minutes later Penxe picked off a pass and skipped over a lunging tackle to burst away to notch his first ever Super Rugby hat-trick of tries to give his charging side a 38-25 advantage.
However, just 60 seconds later, the Force's Alex Newsome charged down a Kings kick and ran onto the rebound for a try. A controversial penalty try for a scrum below the posts handed the Force back the lead.
Ben McCalman then pushed over in the 75th minute to break the Kings as their lead was extended to eight points but Pieter-Steyn de Wet added a Kings penalty to reduce the deficit to five points with three minutes remaining in the match.
The Kings were unable to gain further points as they succumbed to another defeat.
Man of the match: Dane Haylett-Petty had an excellent game with ball in hand while his brother Ross, put in a hard shift. Alex Newsome showed just how deadly he can be as a finisher. Chris Cloete made a menace of himself at the breakdown while Yaw Penxe and Malcolm Jaer showed how dangerous they can be if they get their hands on the ball. Our award goes to Kings flyhalf Lionel Cronje, who caused the Force all sorts of headaches in defence and got his backline firing.
For the Western Force:
Tries: Lance, Newsome 2, D Haylett-Petty, Penalty try, McCalman
Cons: Lance 2, Prior 2, Penalty con
Pens: Lance 2
For the Kings:
Tries: Forwood, Penxe, Jaer 3, Mapimpi
Cons: Cronje 4
Pen: de Wet
Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Chance Peni, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Richie Arnold, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Pek Cowan , 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Richard Hardwick, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Curtis Rona.
Southern Kings: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje (captain), 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Andisa Ntsila, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Mzwanele Zito, 20 Tyler Paul, 21 Rick Schroeder, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Masixole Banda/Wandile Mjekevu.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)