Force fall to Reds in Melbourne

Sun, Mar 5, 2023, 7:49 AM
by Western Force Media

The Force fell valiantly during Round 2 of Super Rugby Pacific, going down to a talented Queensland Reds outfit by 51 points.

It was a tough encounter for the Force as they attempted to get their second win to start the season during Super Round at AAMI Park in Melbourne, unfortunately finishing with a 20-71 score line.

After an inspiring victory during Round 1, the Force were challenged by the Reds straight from kick-off however held firm with an impressive defensive showing.

Some lucky plays saw Queensland take the first two tries of the game, giving the Force a lot of work to do from the outset.

The Force quickly got back into form and cut back into the lead instantly through some fancy footwork from Zach Kibirige that led to their first try of the game.

The men in blue started to claw their way back into the match, forcing penalties resulting in Bryce Hegarty adding another three points, bringing the score within six.

A game highlight was Force debutant Folau Fainga’a scoring his first try in blue, putting the score at 13-22.

At halftime, the Force was trailing by 16 points as both teams entered the sheds, facing some minor issues giving away penalties which made it challenging to get back into the game.

The Force flew into the second half, retaining possession well and putting together phases to challenge the Reds defence.

However, penalties continued to see the Force turnover the ball and back up in their half. The side remained strong as they held back the Reds assault with some impressive tackling.

A costly error from Reds fullback Jordan Petaia saw the Force have a realistic opportunity to score before an intercept that sent Suliasi Vunivalu down the field 80m. However, Force back-rower Tim Anstee displayed his speed and fight, chasing him down before scoring. 

After a yellow card and an off-field referral saw Force flanker Ollie Callan upgraded to a red card for a head contact tackle resulting in his side going down to 14 men for the remainder of the match.

Lacking in numbers, the Force continued to attack the Reds line, cutting into the margin and eventually, Palmyra product and WA local Jackson Pugh dove over for his first this year.

Despite the large margin, the Force didn’t bow their heads and kept fighting to the final siren showing class in a challenging encounter in Melbourne.

Western Force 20

Tries: Zach Kibirige, Folau Fainga’a, Jackson Pugh

Conversions: Bryce Hegarty

Penalties: Bryce Hegarty

Reds 71

Tries: Ryan Smith, Jordan Petaia, Harry Wilson, Josh Flook 2, Matt Faessler, Filipo Daugunu 2, Suliasi Vunivalu, Liam Wright

Conversion: Tom Lynagh 5, James O’Connor 4

Penalties: Tom Lynagh

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