nib Stadium, Perth
A 79th-minute penalty goal to Jayden Hayward has kicked the Emirates Western Force to a 19-18 win over the Highlanders at nib Stadium tonight.
The Force fullback was awarded the penalty when he was taken out after kicking by Highlanders No.8 Mose Tuiali’i, before the fledgling goal kicker coolly slotted the angled attempt to claim the victory.
The win was reward for another determined team defensive effort, holding the Highlanders try-less, despite being a man down when Alby Mathewson received a yellow card after 61 minutes.
The one-point triumph was a fitting result to mark Ben McCalman’s 50th match for the club, with the rampaging back-rower figuring heavily in the performance to claim man-of-the-match honours.
Click here to see what Michael Foley and Matt Hodgson had to say after the match.
Emirates Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley said the win was testament to the side’s ongoing work ethic.
“I’m very pleased for the players,” he said. “They’ve displayed character in every game we’ve played this year.
“Obviously we’ve had a lot of close losses, but to get a close win and be in that situation when we’re playing with 14 men in our own 22 against a side that had a lot of attacking threats, I thought was a fantastic reward for all the work that’s gone in from the boys.”
The Emirates Western Force’s intent was clear from the outset when the side’s first attacking raid spanned 23 phases deep inside the Highlanders’ 22m line.
The created pressure reaped dividends at the 17-minute mark when Hayward broke through from a second-man play only to be hauled in a metre short from the line. However, from the ensuing phase, Mathewson found Sias Ebersohn, who dived over in the corner for his maiden try for the Force.
Hayward’s touch line conversion launched a goal-kicking shootout with Highlanders flyhalf Hayden Parker, with the Otago pivot landing two first half penalty goals to Hayward’s one, with the Force up 10-6 at the break.
When the second half resumed, it was replacement playmaker Colin Slade who traded penalties with Hayward to have the Force leading 16-12 after 59 minutes.
When referee Andrew Lees marched Mathewson at the hour mark, the Force first denied a rampaging Ma’a Nonu a try before repelling seven minutes of intense pressure, conceding just a penalty goal.
The Highlanders claimed their first taste of the lead with four minutes remaining when Slade landed a 50-metre penalty to hold an 18-16 margin, however, Hayward’s final vital three-points provided the Force with the win and extended their unbeaten run over the Highlanders to five matches.
The Emirates Western Force will receive the week off courtesy of the bye before taking on the British & Irish Lions (Wednesday, 5 June) and the NSW Waratahs (Sunday, 9 June) in Perth.
2013 Super Rugby – Week 15
Saturday, 25 May 2013 at nib Stadium, Perth
Emirates Western Force 19 (Sias Ebersohn try; Jayden Hayward conversion, 4 penalties) defeated Highlanders 18 (Colin Slade 4 penalties, Hayden Parker 2 penalties)
Emirates Western Force: 1. Pek Cowan, 2. Heath Tessmann, 3. Kieran Longbottom, 4. Toby Lynn, 5. Sam Wykes, 6. Matt Hodgson (c), 7.Chris Alcock, 8. Ben McCalman, 9. Alby Mathewson, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 11. Junior Rasolea, 12. Kyle Godwin, 13.Ben Jacobs, 14. Patrick Dellit, 15. Jayden Hayward. Res: 16. James Hilterbrand, 17. Tetera Faulkner, 18. Rory Walton, 19. Richard Brown, 20. Angus Cottrell, 21. Brett Sheehan, 22. Sam Norton-Knight.
Highlanders: 1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Liam Coltman, 3. Ma’afu Fia, 4. Brad Thorn (c), 5. Josh Bekhuis, 6. TK Ioane, 7. John Hardie, 8. Mose Tuiali’I, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Hayden Parker, 11. Hosea Gear, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 13. Tamati Ellison, 14. Jason Emery, 15. Ben Smith. Res: 16. Andrew Hore, 17. Bronson Murray, 18. Joe Wheeler, 19. Elliot Dixon, 20. Fumiaki Tanaka, 21. Colin Slade, 22. Tino Nemani
Yellow Cards: Alby Mathewson
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Andrew Lees
Crowd: 12, 508
By the clock