Western Force lockdown finals spot after thrilling victory

Fri, 23/04/2021, 12:30 pm
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Western Force celebrate an incredible victory over the Reds. Photo: Getty Images

The Western Force have defied the odds and an impending lockdown to secure their place in the Super Rugby finals after a dramatic 30-27 win over the Reds.

With destiny seemingly out of their hands after going down 21-7, it would be English import Jordan Olowofela that would help inspire an incredible comeback after crossing for a hat-trick.

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Despite three yellow cards, the Force would hold on for a famous win, wrapping up a maiden finals appearance against the Brumbies.

With their finals hopes on the line, the Force got off to the worst possible start, with Tevita Kuridrani yellow-carded for an ugly tip-tackle on Hunter Paisami inside 90 seconds.

In a battle of old bull vs young, Paisami would hit straight back with Kuridrani in the bin, bursting through multiple defenders to open the scoring.

Whilst English flyer Jordan Olowofela would race away with an intercept, Reds prop Taniela Tupou would break open the game with a brutal run for a runaway try 

The Force’s nightmare period would be compounded when Toni Pulu was sin-binned for multiple infringements, allowing Filipo Daugunu to give the Reds a 21-7 lead.

With their hopes of a maiden finals appearance fading, Kuridrani would lift his side, delivering a bone-crunching tackle to Paisami as he looked to make up for his error.

This would inspire the home side before the break, as hooker Feleti Kaitu’u crashed over following a Domingo Miotti penalty, reducing the margin to just five points.

A hat trick to the speedster sends the Western Force into their first ever finals series

In a drastic change from the second half, it would be the Reds that would go down to 14 men after Jordan Petaia’s ugly mid-air tackle on Olowofela.

The English-born flyer would take advantage of the overlap, finishing off a nice move to reduce the margin to just one point.

Both teams would trade penalty goals before once again ill-discipline came back to bite the Force, lock Jeremy Thrush the latest to see yellow.

However, the Force refused to give up in front of the Sea of Blue, with Olowofela capping his remarkable performance with a hat-trick to give them the lead.

The Reds would turn down multiple opportunities to tie-up the game, trying to muscle their way over for a game-winner.

Time after time, they would attack their line and be denied, with the Force eventually earning a turnover.

One clearing kick later and the Force delivered an unlikely victory and an early present for their WA faithful set to enter lockdown.

FORCE 30

TRIES: Olowofela 3, Kaitu'u

CONS: Miotti 2

PENS: Miotti 2

REDS 27

TRIES: Daugunu, Tupou, Paisami

CONS: O'Connor 3

PENS: O'Connor 2

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