Force take win over wounded Wild Knights

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Western Force finished their 2018 World Series Rugby with a 50-45 win over a wounded Panasonic Wild Knights side.

A 74th-minute Ian Prior penalty sealed the match for the Force after the sides traded scoring blows for much of the night.

The Japanese visitors Wild Knights will heading home with more than just hurt pride after star playmaker Berrick Barnes suffered a nasty ankle injury.

Barnes’s night ended prematurely midway through the second half after an awkward fall forced him off in a stretcher.

Japan's Top League season is yet to officially kick off but it appears Barnes will miss at least the early part of the season.

Berrick Barnes was stretchered off against the Force. Photo: Getty ImagesHis was the only serious injury on a night of ebb and flow in Perth.

Trailing by 11 at half-time, the Force piled on 25 unanswered points to hold a 14-point lead with 20 minutes to go.

The Wild Knights proved their calibre with two quick fire replies to cut the margin back to just two points before Prior’s kick sealed the result.

Marcel Brache and Brynard Stander had doubles for the Force, while fullback Jack McGregor was a standout for the hosts.

With the 2018 World Series fixtures wrapping up, the Force's billionaire backer Andrew Forrest used the half-time break to confirm some lofty ambitions for 2019.

The second iteration of the competition is set to have a $1 million prize up for grabs, with a final team lineup yet to be confirmed.

Forrest did confirm that World Series Rugby would be building a relationship with Western Sydney after a report that Forrest was helping revive exiled Shute Shield club Penrith.

Force

Tries: Brache 2, Stander 2, McGregor, Lacey, Thrush, Millar

Cons: Prior 7

Pens: Prior

Panasonic

Power Tries: Fukuoka

Tries: Uchida, Horie, Penalty, Millar, Yamasawa

Cons: Barnes 4, Yamasawa

Pens: Barnes