Force falls to dominant Waratahs in Super W season opener

Fri, Mar 24, 2023, 8:19 AM
by Western Force Media

Despite a daring effort, the Western Force have been defeated 43-0 by the NSW Waratahs in a hard-hitting, fast-paced opening Super W clash.

The Force pushed the 2022 runners-up and 14-Wallaroo stacked side in a physical encounter at Allianz Stadium, but the Waratahs proved too clinical.

With 12 Force debutants running in defensive mode for majority of the match, the Force laboured early on. The one-on-one tackles a highlight, coercing errors at the breakdown.

Wallaroo Michaela Leonard proved influential for the full 80, with scrum-half Kendra Fell making a difference in the second 40' from the whistle.

Captain, Trilleen Pomare displayed moments of greatness, steady in defence and running bold lines when needed.

The opening minutes saw a handling error from the Waratahs, setting the women from the West up meters from the try line. Then on, three line-outs in the first four minutes set the pace for the match but never eventuated into a try.

A stiff defence from the home side proved difficult to invade. The connection between Hamilton and Stewart in the Waratahs attack was slick, forcing a ruck penalty advancing the captain Piper Duck over the line for the first try of the season.

Soon after, a misread from the Force allowed Grace Hamilton to intercept at the 50m line, pursuing her teammates for their second in the right corner.

Hard-hitting Force debutant Samoan recruit Saelua Leaula, created momentum in defence, forcing a turnover in the opposition's half.

Force's newest Japanese international Yuna Sato was withdrawn 20 minutes in with a back injury allowing Sera Ravatudei to come on in the back row.

At 28 minutes, the Waratahs went over for their third, Barker reaching out, cementing just over the line. Five minutes later, the home side continued their dominance at maul time, proving too strong, rolling over for their fourth.

With nine minutes to go in the first half, the Force was determined to find space in attack, as vice-captain Barnes set the pace running through a hole. Darting for the 5 points, only to be denied a try, as Waratahs fly-half Ella Ryan performed a try-saving tackle, forcing a knock on when grounding.

Well into the second half Force's line-out errors were quickly rectified as Leonard commanded the set-piece, exemplifying her experience at the highest level.

Force was caught on the back foot 10 minutes into the 2nd, and Waratahs Margot Vella found space on the paint, nailing her first for the night.

In the final stages, a yellow to Ariana Hira-Hirangi saw the Force drop to 14 women. Soon after, a lapse in judgment from rookie Destiny Maui saw her, too, receive 10 on the sideline.

The home side held firm in the final moments, capitalising on their two-player advantage. After a gusty defensive effort from the Force, the impressive Waratahs outfit adds three tries to the scoreboard.

Match Hodgson’s side will take plenty of learning opportunities out of the encounter into next week’s clash with the Queensland Reds on Friday the 31st March.

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