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Five things we learnt from Pasifika-Force

Tue, 24/05/2022, 9:28 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Moana Pasifika hosted the Force at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Western Force did what they had to do, even if they left it late, coming away with the bonus-point 48-28 win over Moana Pasifika.

A late try to Kyle Godwin proved key as they keep in touch with eighth-placed Highlanders ahead of an exciting final round of Super Rugby Pacific.

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So what did we learn?

1.Step one complete

The Force did what they had to do to keep their slim finals hopes alive, even if they left it late as they claimed the bonus-point win in frantic fashion.

Their ability to stay calm after a slow start was critical, with the ten minutes before and after the break proving crucial as they ran in four tries.

Tim Sampson’s men needed the bonus point from one of their final two wins and this was always going to be the game the target, surviving a scare or two to get it done.

They must put this behind them and immediately turn their focus to a rested-up Hurricanes, who will have their own top four aspirations, before even considering the favour they need from the Rebels on Sunday against the Highlanders.

2. Set piece success

The Force can thank their dominant set-piece for the bonus-point victory, which bullied the hosts for the 80 minutes.

They set the tempo with two early scrum penalties in the first five minutes, before stealing line outs at will as they nabbed four in the first half.

Ryan McCauley was a menace at set piece time and in attack, setting up Pasitoa’s try with a great break whilst the likes of Tim Anstee and Jackson Pugh monstered their way through the line.

It’s something that has been missing from the Force throughout the season and they need a repeat if they wish to stop Ardie Savea and the Hurricanes.

3. In the thick of it

Kyle Godwin was in the right place at the right time on two crucial occasions that kept the Force’s season alive.

With Moana still hunting for the win down 13 with five minutes remaining, Godwin was obstructed as Lincoln McClutchie dives over the line, breaking the hosts’ spirit and any hopes of a comeback.

This kept the Force in the hunt for the bonus point and it was only fitting Godwin was the man to finish off a Manasa Mataele break after a wild five minutes of play.

With the Force legend heading overseas after Saturday’s regular-season finale against the Hurricanes, it’s only fitting he was the man to ensure it wasn’t a dead rubber as they return home to HBF Park.

4. Making use of the opportunity

Tima Fainga’anuku took the chance to start with flying colours as he bulldozed the Force’s defence in the first half.

Fainga’anuku was a late call up for Tomasi Alosio and instantly made an impact as he shrugged over several tacklers to score under the posts.

He then showcased his acrobatics as he burst down the sidelines before scoring in the corner.

5. Showing the promise

Reesjan Pasitoa showed glimpses of why he was considered a Wallabies bolter at the start of the year with some great touches.

The dummy and fend to break a tackle before setting up Pulu’s try was excellent, whilst he showed his defensive capabilities with a great cover tackle on Fine Inisi with four minutes to go.

Whilst a Wallabies call-up is too soon, he seems like the perfect player for the recently announced Australia A series, with all eyes on how he adapts to the next step if selected

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