Grant guides Force past spiteful Reds
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Western Force bounced back from last week's disappointment to beat a spiteful Reds team 40-26 in Brisbane on Friday.
The teams scored four tries each, but the unerring boot of the Force's Springbok flyhalf Peter Grant added 20 points - through four conversions and four penalties.
In contrast, the Reds' Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper kicked just three conversions.
Ironically Cooper and the Reds' veteran Wallaby hooker Stephen Moore were at the forefront of the indisciplined display by the Reds - who were fortunate they were not issued more than the two second-half yellow cards.
Once again the Reds were their own worst enemy, with scrumhalf Nick Frisby and wing Eto Nabuli sent to the sin bin.
The loss dropped them in fourth place in the mediocre Australian conference.
The Reds' indiscipline has cost them 12 yellow cards this season, more than any other team in Super Rugby.
The Force still don't know if they will be playing in next year's competition given the continuing uncertainty with the Australian Rugby Union still yet to decide on which of its five teams to cull.
The Reds looked set to go on to victory, after Moore scored his second try for the Reds to lead 26-21 with 20 minutes left.
But the Force refused to give in and rattled off 19 unanswered points to win comfortably with Wallaby lock Adam Coleman outstanding at the set piece and making 14 tackles.
"We were disappointed with the effort we put in last week against the Highlanders [losing 6-55 at home] so we needed to bring that back to our game and we did that in the second half," skipper Matt Hodgson said.
"With everything that is going on it is tough to turn out every week, but I'm just proud of the boys."
Wallaby hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau came off the bench to seal the win for the Force with his 70th-minute try off the back of a rolling maul.
While the Force have struggled in Super Rugby in recent seasons they have won six and drawn one of their last nine games against the Reds, including wins in their last three meetings.
Man of the match: If there was a villain of the match, several Reds players would have been in line - as they allowed their frustrations to get the better of them in the second half - especially Quade Cooper and Stephen Moore. Adam Coleman showed the way for his Force teammates with an incredible defensive performance, but our award goes to Force flyhalf Peter Grant, for his impeccable kicking display.
For the Reds:
Tries: Paia'aua, Tui, Moore 2
Cons: Cooper 3
For the Western Force:Tries: Haylett-Petty, Penalty try, Brache, Polota-Nau
Cons: Grant 2, Penalty try does not require a conversion
Pens: Grant 4
Yellow card: Nick Frisby (Reds, 44 - cynical foul, kicking the ball out of opponents hands), Eto Nabuli (Reds, 66 - foul play, high tackle)
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi (captain), 12 Duncan Paia'aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Lukhan Tui, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sef Fa'agase.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Kirwan Sanday, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Lachlan Maranta.
Western Force: 15 Marcel Brache, 14 James Verity-Amm, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Isireli Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Francois van Wyk.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Mitchell Short, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Luke Morahan.
Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)