Jaguares vs Force: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Force have their first overseas win in more than a year.

What are we talking about after that gritty win?

1. Round the world to finals?

There was no bonus point, but the Force can still count themselves into finals contention, such is the bizarre nature of this Australian conference. A week after a game coach Dave Wessels labelled their worst of the year, the Force showed they can turn things around. The result puts them just six points adrift of the conference-leading Brumbies with five games left in the season, with all but the Rebels able to grab that guaranteed finals position.

2. Prior carries the load

Ian Prior has been a gap-filler for the Force in recent seasons and he filled those gaps better than ever on Sunday morning. Two penalties kept the Force on level pegging, before his final pass to Alex Newsome gave the young winger their first try of the night.

3. Youth step up

The Force want to make a statement. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Force were without two of their senior figures in Matt Hodgson (ankle) and Tatafu Polota-Nau in Buenos Aires, leaving an inexperienced bench to pick things up in the final half. Their replacements did exactly that, compounding the good showings from players like Newsome, Isi Naisarani and Richard Hardwick. A huge confidence boost for this group, after a rollercoaster season.

4.  Force fight fire with fire

The Jaguares have never played a game without spite, but their passion adds spice to every game. It was no different this time, most notably at half-time as the revved-up sides had to bottle neck through the same tunnel. A to and fro between Curtis Rona and Jaguares prop Ramiro Herrera might have been the biggest mismatch of the evening, as the pair traded pushes in the face.

5. Next step the real test

They’ve shown improvement, but the next step is to prove they can do this against a tougher opposition. The Force will return to Perth, with the Highlanders awaiting them in the first of a home-heavy back end of their season. This week will be pivotal for the Force as they prepare to face one of their sternest opposition, and try to show they can put out consistent performances every week.

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