Hugh positive for Force
Hugh positive for ForceSHARE
The return of Wallaby forward Hugh McMeniman in the curtain raiser and another impressive pre-season win were the positives for the Western Force.
McMeniman made a successful return from a shoulder reconstruction in the Western Force A's 54-12 win over Samoa A in a curtain raiser at nib Stadium on Friday.
McMeniman, in action for the first time since August last year, made it through the first half unscathed before being subbed off.
The Western Force, who kicked off their pre-season fixtures with a strong 69-3 win over the same Samoa A outfit last Friday, completed their Super Rugby preparations with a 29-6 win over the Argentine Pampas selection in the main game at the nib Stadium on Friday.
The Force have not conceded a try in either pre-season match.
Force captain Matt Hodgson says it was pleasing to hold both sides try-less ahead of their opening Super Rugby fixture against the Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday, February 23.
"We stepped up a lot in defence last year and it's something we've continued to work on," he said.
"We've got goals around that and we definitely want to continue to improve and force the opposition to work extremely hard for any points they get.
"We came through the [pre-season] games without any injuries, just a few bumps and bruises, and with everyone on deck for next week, I'm sure it'll be difficult to pick the 23 that go out there [against the Waratahs]."
In a solid team performance, fullback and new recruit Luke Morahan showed a deft touch throughout the match, finishing the match with three try assists and crossing for one of his own in the third quarter.
Wing Nick Cummins was twice the benefactor of Morahan's work, crossing for two tries in the second and third periods.
While the Pampas selection had the early running of possession after the Pampas side spent their first six minutes in attack, it was the Force that hit the scoreboard first when Nathan Charles backed up on the inside to touch down under the posts with the Force's first taste of possession.
Up 7-3 at the quarter-time break, the Force added a further two tries before half-time, when a Morahan around-the-corner pass found a flying Cummins, with McCalman scoring on the back of a dominant scrum near the try line to take a 17-6 lead at the break.
The Force added a final two tries in the third quarter when Kyle Godwin's quick hands sent Morahan across the line before the pair combined to send Cummins over for the final try.
The Pampas selection scored through two penalties to flyhalf Patricio Fernandez.
For the Western Force:
Tries: Cummins 2, Charles, Morahan, McCalman
Cons: Holmes 2
For the Pampas:
Pens: Fernandez 2
Western Force: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Junior Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom/Ollie Hoskins, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements – from: Jayden Hayward, Patrick Dellit, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Luke Burton, Ed Stubbs, Sias Ebersohn, Ian Prior, Brynard Stander, Chris Alcock, Rory Walton, Phoenix Battye, Hugh McMeniman, Salesi Manu, Heath Tessmann, Pek Cowan, Robbie Abel, Francois van Wyk, Chris Heiberg, Bruce Smith-Wright, Corey Thomas, Richard Hardwick, Kane Koteka, Ryan Louwrens, Dillyn Leyds, Brad Lacey, Dylan Sage, Dane Haylett-Petty.
Pampas: 15 Roman Miralles, 14 Ramiro Moyan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Javier Rojas 11 Santiago Cordero 10 Patricio Fernandez, 9 Martin Landajo (captain), 8 Ahualli Ahualli, 7 Tomas De La Vega, 6 Rodrigo Baez, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Tomas Lavanini, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Matias Cortese, 1 Lucas Noguera.
Replacements – from: Bruno Postiglioni, Tomas Ramirez, Rodrigo Bruno, Lucas Ponce, Javier Ortegra Desio, Tomas Cubelli, Iglesias Santiago Gonzalez, Manuel Montero, Santiago Iglesias, Facundo Isa, Guido Petti, Julian Montoya, Tomas Carrio, Moroni Moroni, Jeronimo De La Fuente.
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Alex Ninkov (Australia), Matt O'Brien (Australia)