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By Force Media Unit
A determined Emirates Western Force outfit has been edged out by the Waratahs in Sydney, going down 23-19 at Allianz Stadium this afternoon.
The Force controlled possession for the majority of the match and clawed their way back from a 23-9 deficit shortly after half time, but was unable to make up the final four points, having to settle for a lone bonus point from the match.
The Western Australian defence again held tight, conceding just one try against the Wallaby-laden Waratah line-up, while the Force forward pack– led by captain Matt Hodgson and lock Hugh McMeniman – was strong in a tight affair.
Fullback Alfie Mafi crossed for his side’s only try to extend his season’s tally to five – the most he has scored in a Super Rugby season throughout his career.
Head Coach Michael Foley said while his side continues to show improvement, converting pressure into points remains a focus.
“It’s always disappointing when you don’t get the result but there were a lot of good things out there and I thought we controlled the game for long periods of time,” he said.
“Some of the things we did with the ball, in particular instances from midfield scrums and how we used the ball that was kicked to us, are a couple of things to work on.
“That’s the third game in a row where we’ve only had one try scored against us, the previous two games we had two tries, so our defence is getting better; we’re certainly playing the 80 minutes it’s just how we use the ball that’s hurting us at times.
“There was a load of character out there; it’s a very disappointed change room and we’ve felt that a few times this year, but we’ve got to keep going. We can’t tighten up, we’ve got to keep doing the things we’re doing in attack.”
After holding the early share of possession, the Emirates Western Force converted it into a 6-0 lead after eight minutes through two penalty goals to flyhalf Sias Ebersohn.
While the Force defensive line held true throughout the term, discipline within kicking range proved costly with NSW scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin piloting home five first-half penalty goals.
An Ebersohn penalty in the 36th minute brought the half time score to 15-9, but it was the Waratahs that started the second stanza with a flurry, extending their lead by a further eight points through another McKibbin penalty and try to Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Trailing 23-9, the Force again took control of the match midway through the half, holding the ball for multiple phases and peppering the Tahs defensive line. The pressure told when Mafi straightened the attack on the NSW goal line and crashed through two defenders in the 54th minute to score.
Ebersohn’s conversion and penalty goal five minutes later drew the Force to within four points, and while the visitors challenged the NSW defence in the final five minutes of the match, was unable to land the final necessary blow.
The Emirates Western Force returns home to take on the Melbourne Rebels at nib Stadium on Saturday, 6 April.
2013 Super Rugby – Week 7
Sunday, 31 March 2013 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 4.05pm (local)/1.05pm (AWST)
Waratahs 23 (Adam Ashley-Cooper try; Brendan McKibbin 0/1 conversion, 6/7 penalty goals) defeated Emirates Western Force 19 (Alfie Mafi try; Sias Ebersohn 1/1 conversion, 4/5 penalty goals, 0/1 drop goals)
Emirates Western Force
1. Pek Cowan, 2. Heath Tessmann, 3. Salesi Ma’afu, 4. Toby Lynn, 5. Hugh McMeniman, 6. Ben McCalman, 7. Matt Hodgson (c), 8. Richard Brown, 9. Alby Mathewson, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 11. Junior Rasolea, 12. Kyle Godwin, 13. Winston Stanley, 14. Patrick Dellit, 15. Alfie Mafi. Res: 16. Ben Whittaker, 17. Kieran Longbottom, 18. Sam Wykes, 19. Chris Alcock, 20. Jayden Hayward, 21. Sam Christie, 22. Sam Norton-Knight
Coach: Michael Foley
1. Benn Robinson, 2. John Ulugia, 3. Paddy Ryan, 4. Sitaleki Timani, 5. Kane Douglas, 6. Dave Dennis (c), 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Pat McCutcheon, 9. Brendan McKibbin, 10. Bernard Foley, 11. Drew Mitchell, 12. Rob Horne, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. Peter Betham, 15. Israel Folau. Res: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. Sekope Kepu, 18. Mitchell Chapman, 19. Jed Holloway, 20. Matt Lucas, 21. Ben Volavola, 22. Tom Kingston
Coach: Michael Cheika
Yellow Cards: Salesi Ma’afu (20th min)
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Steve Walsh
By the Clock
Min Details Score
5 Sias Ebersohn Penalty Goal 3-0
8 Sias Ebersohn Penalty Goal 6-0
11 Brendan McKibbin Penalty Goal 6-3
18 Brendan McKibbin Penalty Goal 6-6
20 Salesi Ma'afu Sin Bin 6-6
22 Brendan McKibbin Penalty Goal 9-6
29 Brendan McKibbin Penalty Goal 12-6
33 Brendan McKibbin Penalty Goal 15-6
36 Sias Ebersohn Penalty Goal 15-9
42 Brendan McKibbin Penalty Goal 18-9
45 Sias Ebersohn Missed PG 18-9
47 Adam Ashley-Cooper Try 23-9
48 Brendan McKibbin Missed Con 23-9
52 Sias Ebersohn Missed DG 23-9
54 Alfie Mafi Try 23-14
55 Sias Ebersohn Conversion 23-16
60 Sias Ebersohn Penalty Goal 23-19
66 Brendan McKibbin Missed PG 23-19
RaboDirect Rebels flanker Jordy Reid has extended his contract at the Club and will remain a Rebel until at least the end of the 2017.