Force go down to Hurricanes

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A desperate Western Force threw their bodies on the line in a 41-6 loss to the Hurricanes.

In a far cry from their preseason Central Coast try fest against the Hurricanes, it was the Force who went tryless in Palmerston North, in their eighth straight loss to the Kiwis.

In an opening grind, it took 14 minutes for either side to score, with the Force taking the lead through a Peter Grant penalty.

A gruelling defensive effort took its toll on the visitors as the Hurricanes laid on four tries in the final 16 minutes to blow out the margin.

A 25th minute set piece play saw Hurricanes captain Dane Coles crash over for his first try of 2016 and give the home side the scoreboard ascendency.

The WA franchise looked like attempting to stick to their ball in hand policy but it was the Hurricanes who had the better of the attacking ways, making almost triple the metres of the Force.

Desperate defence from the Force kept them in the match, with cover defence from fullback Dane Haylett-Petty and Peter Grant stopping two certain tries early in the second half.

Force captain Matt Hodgson made his impact known in the first half, forcing three turnovers before the 60-minute mark of the match.

Beauden Barrett made the most of a penalty in the final minute of the opening half, to stretch the Kiwis’ advantage to seven points at half-time.

A second Grant penalty came in the 44th minute to narrow the margin to four, where it stayed until a James Marshall try finished off a coast-to-coast counter-attack for the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara used every centimetre of his reach to score in the 63rd minute, opening the floodgates for the Wellington side, with Blade Thomson, Ngani Laumape and Ardie Savea adding to their tally.

The Force could have come injury concerns from the defeat, with winger Semisi Mesirewa limping off in the 69th minute.

The Force’s run doesn’t get any easier after their bruising loss, with a trip to face the Highlanders next week, as they continue their three-week New Zealand road trip.

Hurricanes 41 (Tries: Coles, Marshall, Perenara, Thomson, Laumape, Savea Cons: Barrett 3 Pens: Barrett 1)

Force 6 (Cons Pens: Grant 1)