Force make it 2 from 2 with win over Tonga - Green and Gold Rugby
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Force make it 2 from 2 with win over Tonga

Force make it 2 from 2 with win over Tonga

Game 2 of World Series Rugby included a fantastic bonus today as the crowd got another chance to watch the Western Force Women’s side. Fresh from the recent Super W series the Force tookk on the Women’s side from Hong Kong in the curtain raiser. The Hong Kong side put on the pressure early and managed to go over for an early try before the Force managed to hit back and go ahead with a couple of good forwards tries. One more before half-time helped the Force open up a small lead going into the break 15-5 up after a tough and close fought half of rugby. It was all the Force in the second half as the combinations started to click and they ran in three unanswered tries to close out the friendly 30-5.

The lead in to the men’s game continued on the theme set last week at the inaugural WSR game with skydivers, dancers and fireworks revving up the crowd before the teams ran on, followed by the Tongan and Aboriginal war dances revving the players up ready for the kick off. The rugby too followed on from last week with the speed of play and intent from both sides evident from the first kick-off. It was the Tongans who drew first blood through a penalty goal but from there the Force took control of the half. A combination of tough forward play and some slick backline play resulted in two quick tries and when some opportunistic play near the Tongan line resulted in a third the score had suddenly blown out to 21-3 in the first quarter of the game and a blowout score seemed possibly on the cards.

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Marcel Brache finds even more space (Photo Credit: Delphy)

To Tonga’s credit they fought hard and wrested the momentum of the game back in the second 20, scoring two good tries of their own to bring the score back to 21-17 at the break. For the second half the Force took their cue from the curtain raiser and shut the Tongans out of the game, scoring four unanswered tries to run out 30 point winners, 47-17. Despite the scoreline, there was never a sense that the Tongans were out of the game with plenty of big hits and scything runs giving the Force plenty to do. The difference to me seemed to be the Forces ability to recycle the ball quickly and effectively coupled with their willingness to use the full width of the field on attack, cycling the ball left and right until the Tongan defense was worn down.

The combinations seem to be gelling well so far for the Force, both in the forwards and backs. Deegan is leading the team around well and has plenty of pace and elusive runners outside of him who are running well and hard, including Brache who scored a brace and young guns Clay Uyen and my man of the match Brad Lacey. The platform for this is being set well by the forward pack who seem to be working as a solid unit currently, securing good front foot ball for their backs. It was great to see Kieran Longbottom back in Force blue and Chris Alcock and Tevin Ferris were busy all day. It is far from perfect at this early stage of course, but there are really encouraging signs for Force fans leading into the challenging games ahead.

The first of these challenges will be in three weeks time when the Rebels head across the Nullabor for what will be seen by many as a grudge match between the side that fell to the ARU axe and the side who was spared. This is also the first chance for the reborn Western Force to test themselves against a current Super Rugby team, with a further game against the Crusaders to follow, so I am sure it will be followed with interest by many. The passion on and off the field has been a hallmark of the WSR matches so far, I am sure this will continue over the coming matches.

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Ian Prior out-weighed but not out-played. (Photo Credit: Delphy)

Force:

1. Harry Lloyd, 2. Alifeleti Kaitu’u, 3. Chris Heiberg, 4. Fergus Lee-Warner, 5. Johan Bardoul, 6. Tevin Ferris, 7. Chris Alcock, 8. Brynard Stander, 9. Ian Prior, 10. Andrew Deegan, 11. Brad Lacey, 12. Rodney Iona, 13. Marcel Brache, 14. Rod Davies, 15. Clay Uyen. Reserves: 16. Harry Scoble, 17. Tom Sheminant, 18. Kieran Longbottom, 19. Leon Power, 20. Harrison Orr, 21. Elliot Turner, 22. AJ Alatimu, 23. Henry Taefu

Tonga:

1. Sosaia Masima, 2.Sione Lolohea, 3. Duane Anthony Aholelei, 4. Vainanuma Manu, 5. Charlie Pahulu, 6. Atunaisa Faka’osi, 7. Taniela Na’a, 8. Topui Sekona, 9. Sosaia Tokai, 10. Samiu Muna, 11. Jhonny Ika, 12. Kelekolio Hifo, 13. Keith Masima, 14. Weir Filikitonga, 15. James Faiva. Reserves: 16. Leiataua Kilifi, 17. Fe’ao Fotuaika, 18. Frederick Fonokalafi, 19. Aisea Puaka, 20. Solomone Funaki, 21. Solomone Pauuvale, 22. Ofa Ki Maui Pongi, 23. Tuihakavalu Ika

Match Details:

Force 47 (Lacey, Davies, Deegan, Brache 2, Uyen tries; Penalty Try, Prio5 5 con) defeated Tonga 17 (Faiva 2 tries, 2 con, pg)

Match Photos (courtesy Delphy):

 

  • ForceFan

    Excellent coverage Brendan.
    A highlight for me was Ian Prior’s on field leadership and his reliable shots on goal from all over the park.

    • Brendan Hill

      Agreed. Good to see his kicking back on song.

  • I haven’t seen the game – living o/s not sure there is any way to. Anyone want to comment on whether there’s anyone showing Wallaby-squad-level performance? Enough to get into an expanded Wallabies training squad?

    • joy

      That No 11 has a future. He was all over the field. Longbottom showed his class as a prop. The Force handled a team of Tongan Thors (some unfit) quite well I thought.

    • Perth girl

      Fullback Clay Uyen has been mentioned by both Michael Lynagh and Buddha Handy as being future Wallaby material and played well last night. Longbottom is a class prop and winger Brad Lacey had a good game

    • Valzc

      Goddard is a very classy no. 10. & yes Brad Lacey was everywhere. But the team are gelling well & an excellent team spirit as a whole.

    • Brumby Runner

      Have to say I am impressed with Fergus Lee-Warner but I don’t know what his eligibility is. Also, like the way Harry Lloyd continues to improve.

  • Moz

    Thanks for another great write-up Brendan!

    Matt – the game isn’t up yet, but I assume it will be shown here – https://7plus.com.au/WSWS

    At the moment they only have the Fiji game there. You may also need to use a VPN showing you are in Oz to watch it.

    • Brendan Hill

      Thanks Moz

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    The success in the stands continue to press the message that the ARU got it wrong when they axed the Force. I hope the success will be transferred to junior registration and the clun scene. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect a newly formed team to be competitive against the Rebels or Crusaders yet. We had to start all over again.

    • Bakkies

      Not so sure Hannes. The Force look far more coherent as a unit then the Super Rugby sides despite squad members only arriving a few weeks back.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Hope you are correct Bakkies. They did not have to execute under extreme pressure yet when these systems will get tested.

  • Habitual offender

    Apart from the Rugby itself, the most outstanding bit for me is the sportsmanlike behaviour, shown both on the field and by the spectators alike.

    Played in the true Rugby Spirit.
    Only hope it continues with the Rebels visit.

    • Perth girl

      We’re not going to badmouth our boys HO. We know why they had to leave and we hope that many of them will return to us in time

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        The anger is directed to the administrators not the Rebels. Let’s hope the Rebels visit will unite us and that we will celebrate rugby by both teams playing entertaining and enterprising rugby.

        • Perth girl

          Yes I agree the anger is directed at the RA board I didnt mean to imply otherwise. Im looking forward to cheering on both teams but hope for a Force win!

      • Habitual offender

        Thats a bit rude, no need to namecall. ;)

        Im pretty sure we won’t as well PerthGirl.
        There is some bitterness still over here for obvious reasons, but sadly misdirected.
        We are better than that

  • Perth girl

    Thank you to Andrew Forrest for enabling us to see international rugby live again in Perth and also for the beautiful long stemmed roses for the Mum’s!

  • ForceFan

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0iv8Ct41pA&t=2s

    Ian Prior gives his thoughts on the upcoming game against the Rebels.

  • Nutta

    Cheers B.

    Does Rocket Rod still have the jets?

    • Brendan Hill

      He doesn’t look slow! Unfortunately he sat out most of the game with an AC issue after a heavy fall early. Sounds like he will be okay for the Rebels game though.

  • Jack

    nice work Brendan

    • Brendan Hill

      Thanks Jack

  • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

    What’s with the complete lack of highlights packages anywhere? It’s either full game or nothing!?

  • Crescent

    I finally caught up on watching the games I had to record due to Mothers Day obligations and doing some kids sport stuff over the weekend.

    Still really enjoying watching the games, and the effort going into the match day experience. Again, credit to the Western Force and Andrew Forrest.

    Good, exciting play from both teams – it’s nice to see a competition where both sides want to be there. I hope financially it is working for the PI sides to further develop and retain their own players at home.

    From a television spectacle, which I had made some comments around the Fiji game, the time between games was well used in bringing this up to an impressive standard. I particularly enjoyed hearing Buddha calling a match again.

    Looking to the future of WSR – the next season I think will be the make or break. Twiggy has done a monumental job in getting this tournament together in under 12 months, and in another 12 months I suspect it will take a massive leap forward. I just hope the crowds stay faithful to the concept as it grows – particularly if RA wake up to themselves and work closely with Twiggy without ruining what he has achieved.

    I am an optimist for WSR, and I want it to be a massive success. So far, looks very promising!

Western Force
@BHillSport

Just a die hard rugby tragic from West of the Nullabor with a penchant for the written word. Happy to talk anyones ear off about anything to do with this great game, as many a poor work colleague has discovered over the years.

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