Western Force thrash Vikings to take NRC 2019 Crown - Green and Gold Rugby
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Western Force thrash Vikings to take NRC 2019 Crown

Western Force thrash Vikings to take NRC 2019 Crown

The battle for the toast rack 2019 took place on a beautiful sunny day in Perth Western Australia where the Western Force hosted the Canberra Vikings at their fortress like home ground, affectionately known as “The Library”. Both sides can count themselves lucky to be in the final at all, after two tight and tense semifinals the week before, with the Force holding off a fast finishing Brisbane City side and the Vikings finishing fast themselves to overrun the Fijian Drua.

An interesting side note to the final was the pledge by Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest to donate $100k to Telethon kids for every Force try scored and $25k for every Vikings try scored, as if there was not already enough pressure on the teams to score big! The day was perfect for running rugby and both sides were happy to throw it around from the off. But this is finals footy and you don’t get here by leaking tries. Both sides were hitting hard in defence and keeping each other more than honest.

The nil-all deadlock stood until midway through the first half and it was the visitors who managed to break it through a penalty goal. Both sides had a few chances but it was the defense reigning supreme in a fierce contest in the Perth heat. Leading into half-time, the Force did what they have done so often this NRC season and stepped up a gear, eventually getting their driving maul going close to the line to make the first indent into Mr Forrests’ pockets with a try to Heath Tessman, duly converted. The force had another chance leading into half-time when dynamic half-back Fines made a dart up the short side, but a desperate last line tackle dislodged the ball as the line beckoned and ensured the gap remained at only 4 points heading into the break.

The Force started the second half as they ended the first crossing early for their second try. When the Force crossed for a third time to establish a 19 – 3 lead it seemed more likely than not that the toast rack would be heading West for a second time. But the Force learnt their lesson from a week before and were not about to give a capable Vikings side a chance to bridge the gap. The men in gold kept up the pressure in both attack and defense, frustrating the Vikings attack and pouncing ruthlessly on any mistakes to run in a further three tries while holding the Vikings scoreless for the second half.

In the end, the Force were deserved victors, although the final score of 41 – 3 perhaps not completely representative of how hard fought the contest was throughout. The difference was just the ruthlessness and precision of the Force, they took every opportunity they created and didn’t allow the Vikings to get going. The Vikings go home empty handed but valiant in defeat and the Force cap off a successful NRC campaign as Champions.

Turning Point:

At halftime it still seemed anyone’s match. As soon as the second half began, the Force looked to be just a few percent sharper and that was all it took. The lead started to build and the volume from the hill built along with it. The Vikings were simply unable to halt the momentum.

Man of the Match:

There were excellent performances across the park in what was a high quality match. Given the result it is no surprise that more of the Force players stood out, though the Vikings backrow is worthy of mention as a group as they worked hard and effectively all game. For the Force, Nick Jooste was influential in the backline, especially with his abrasive defense helping to disrupt the Vikings flow all game, but the man of the match goes to second rower Fergus Lee-Warner who was a powerhouse in a Force forward pack who outplayed a (rightly) highly rated Vikings pack.

Phil Waugh Medallist: Fergus Lee-Warner

Western Force 41 – 3 Canberra Vikings

(Half time: Western Force 7 – 3 Canberra Vikings)

Western Force: 41

Tries: Tessmann 2, Lee-Warner, Jooste, Thrush, Placid

Cons: Deegan 4

Pens: Deegan

Canberra Vikings: 3

Pens: Lonergan

  • Kiap

    Tight match at the half-time break and I wondered if the visitors would finish over the top as they did against the Drua. The likes of Hansen and Samu showed their worth for the Vikings but the Force pack eventually prevailed with Lee-Warner, Sherminator and co, winning those battles. Was also impressed with Jooste as you noted – and also Placid and Ralston. Cheers for the write up and nice to see the WA lads claim the trophy.

  • Perth girl

    Thanks for the write up Brendan. The Force were great in all positions but the front row had it all over their opposition. Heath Tessman was a beast! Well done to the guys. To those who are moving on thanks and good luck, to those who are staying an even bigger thank you! Huge vocal crowd on Phil the Hill as well. I bet Ben Whittaker was jealous of the crowd and the money that Twiggy donated to Telethon $6009,000 in total. Can’t wait for GRR next season

  • Brumby Runner

    No issue with Lee-Warner. Had a great game and would easily make an NRC representative team of the year if there was one. But Harry Lloyd would be my MOTM. He destroyed his opposite in the scrums. It was invariably the LH side of the Force scrum first going through the Vikings front row. And he had another storming game in the open.

    Glad to see Harry and Issak Fines coming back to the Brumbies next year.

    Congratulations to the Force. A dominant performance and worthy champs.

    • Had me a bit worried at halftime.
      Only issue I have with Harry and Isaak going to the Brumbies is they’ll probs be playing against us next NRC.
      Oh well, go to the mountain an all that, good on them.

      • Brumby Runner

        On the RA website it is reported that Jonah Placid is heading East too. Any news on which team he’ll be joining. Although the sire also confused Tessman and Sherminant (amateurs) so perhaps they mixed Placid up with Fines (?).

        • Placid stays for next yr.

          Bit shameful confusing Tesseract with Sherminator, then again, all FR look the same. ;)

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Brendan, can’t get the games here in Korea but loving the way the NRC is going. Good to see the Force win and I hope RA get their shit together with them.

    • Any whispers on player names for Bay of Plenty (GRR) 2020?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate, I know this will upset some here but GRR doesn’t interest me. I’ve heard the rumours about a NZ team but with the Mitre Cup and Super Rugby so entrenched I think anything new will be made up of players that can’t get a gig in any of those teams and that won’t be because they’re too good.
        I may be wrong because I’ve heard nothing but that’s my gut fell

        • Didnt realize that was the question, Ill make a point of never daring to mention it again.

    • ForceFan

      Little hope of RA and the Western Force coming together in the short term due to the commitment to getting Global Rapid Rugby off the ground in 2020. Can’t imagine that GRR will be just a flash in the pan and expect growth beyond the initial 6 team competition. With rumours of involvement from Sth Africa and New Zealand involvement it appears that RA has missed the boat for the initial stage. I hope that there will be chances of more teams from OZ as/if GRR grows. With recent comments from Andrew Forrest, and GRR CEO Mark Evans, I suggest RA will have to find its $$s from elsewhere.

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    Great write up, and a great way to finish a great season. Force were outstanding, and credit to the Vikings, the score wasn’t reflective of the quality of the game on display. Guess we’ve grown so accustomed to the games decided by less than 5.

    Force fans, educate me… why are we now calling UWA Sportspark The Library? Uni setting I’m assuming?

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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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