Set a small text size
Set the default text size
Set a large text size
Western Force overcame two players’ late sendings and scored a crucial penalty after the final siren in a remarkable 21-18 win over Moana Pasifika at HBF Park.
The score was 18-18 in Saturday night’s Super Rugby Pacific game when the Force missed Ollie Callan’s red card in the 73rd minute and Siosifa Amone was sent off three minutes later, also with a yellow card.
But rather than wilt under the numerical disadvantage, the 13-man squad drew a series of clutch plays to their death to secure victory in front of 6497 fans.
Scrumhalf Issak Fines scored a crucial penalty in the collapse to put the squad in good field position and although Bryce Hegarty’s 45-yard penalty attempt went wide in the 79th minute, the home side kept pressing.
A smother from Tim Anstee put Moana under the pump and forced a break-off error, and the Force won a scrum penalty after the final siren.
Hegarty nailed the penalty from eight yards straight forward to win.
The result was in stark contrast to last week when Force were defeated 71-20 by the Queensland Reds.
“It’s significant because sometimes winning ugly is about winning,” said force coach Simon Cron.
“The fight that the guys showed was really positive.
“The area that they’re going to find difficult to watch is the opportunities that we created and then gave the ball back to them.”
The Force leaked 10 tries against the Reds, and it took Moana just 28 seconds to land in an ominous mark on Saturday night.
The stunning game began with a dribble from Moana’s defensive 22, followed by a series of sharp passes that allowed Fine Inisi to score.
The scoreboard read 15-6 in the 25th minute when Moana hooker Samuela Moli landed from a rolling maw.
Moana propswoman Sueten Asomua was penalized with a yellow card just before halftime, and force hooker Folau Fainga’a got a rolling maw on the very next play.
The results were evened out in the 61st minute when the Force swung it wide after a rolling maul and George Poolman landed in the corner.
Hegarty missed the attempt at conversion on the touchline and the squad was down to 14 men when Callan was sent off in the 73rd minute for an unarmed tackle that resulted in his shoulder colliding with his opponent’s head. Callan had been sent off against the Reds a week earlier, but escaped the judiciary without a ban.
Amone joined him on the touchline a few minutes later for a high strike but the Force kept pushing for the win and eventually clinched the result.
“We missed that,” said Moana coach Aaron Mauger.
“In these moments we have to be better. We couldn’t do our basics. It’s hard to play if you don’t catch the ball.”
https://www.theroar.com.au/2023/03/12/crons-13-man-force-finish-over-top-of-moana-pasifika-with-late-penalty-reprieve/ Cron's 13-man force towers over Moana Pasifika with a late penalty stay