Western Force secure bonus-point win over Drua

Fri, May 12, 2023, 10:59 AM
by AAP
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Western Force are daring to dream of Super Rugby Pacific finals, keeping their hopes alive with a bonus point 34-14 win over Fijian Drua at HBF Park.

The victory maintained the Force's unbeaten home record of four wins from four, and Friday's bonus point was crucial as they jumped the Drua and moved into the top eight.

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The Force scrum was bolstered by the return from injury of Wallabies Tom Robertson and Folau Fainga'a, with the latter grabbing two tries.

Max Burey, in just his second Super game, straightened the Force attack well and centre Sam Spink was bruising in midfield.

The Force's carries through the middle were effective and they concentrated most of their wide attack on the left with right winger Zach Kibirige struggling.

Coach Simon Cron went into the game with just two backs on the bench for the first time this season and would have been reluctant to make an early switch.

His problem deepened when he lost left winger Manasa Mataele after 54 minutes with an eye injury. 

The Force took an early lead when the ball was moved quickly to Mataele who went over in the corner.

They went further ahead when hooker Fainga'a ran a good line to crash over for his third try of the season, converted by Burey.

After a slow start, the Drua clawed back, piling pressure on the Force defence as Eroni Sau found a hole to stroll through. His try was converted by Frank Lomani.

The momentum swung further in the Drua's favour and they pummeled the Force line, edging ahead on the half hour with a converted try by Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta. 

Burey restored the home side's lead with a penalty after the siren.

The Drua were pointless after the break as the Force got off to a dream second-half start, second-rower Jeremy Williams driving over from the back of a maul.

Fainga'a added his second from a rolling maul, Burey converted both, and homegrown flanker Carlo Tizzano added the fifth with his first Super try for the Force.


TRIES: Mataele, Fainga'a 2, Williams, Tizzano

CONS: Burey 3/5

PENS: Burey 1/1


TRIES: Sau, Cirikidaveta

CONS: Lomani 2/2

PENS: Lomani 0/1


FORCE (1-15): Angus Warner, Folau Fainga'a, Tom Robertson, Jeremy Williams, Ryan McCauley, Michael Wells (c), Carlo Tizzano, Rahboni Vosayaco, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Max Burey, Manasa Mataele, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Zach Kibirge, Chase Tiatia

RESERVES: Tom Horton, Marley Pearce, Siosifa Amone, Felix Kalapu, Tim Anstee, Isi Naisarani, Ian Prior, George Poolman

DRUA (1-15): Haereiti Hetet, Tevita Ikanivere (c), Samuela Tawake, Jone Koroiduadua, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Joseva Tamani, Vilive Miramira, Meli Derenalagi, Frank Lomani, Teti Tela, Taniela Rakuro, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Iosefo Masi, Eroni Sau, Ilaisa Droasese

RESERVES: Zuriel Togiatama, Livai Natave, Jone Tiko, Etonia Waqa, Elia Canakaivata, Peni Matawalu, Caleb Muntz, Tuidraki Samusamuvodre

Referee: Angus Gardner

Assistant Referees: Graham Cooper, Jordan Kaminski

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