Same sad story for Force
Same sad story for Force

It has become something of a broken record for the Western Force: another first-round Super Rugby loss.

The Force have failed to win their opening match in seven attempts and they failed again in a heartbreaking 19-17 loss in Canberra last night, leaving with just a bonus point.

After a first-half penalty kick-fest the game opened up but it never reached any real peaks of excellence. An energetic Brumbies ran in two tries and the Force just one.

Force captain David Pocock led his side well, making an impact with his first touch. He collected the kick-off then produced a charge-down.

It was not long before Brumbies captain Ben Mowen was in referee Bryce Lawrence's ear about the breakdown.

The physical back-row mismatch with the heavier, taller Brumbies getting over the lively Force trio did not happen the way Brumbies coach Jake White would have wanted.

The Force looked lively but were narrow in attack and with a lack of experience in the centres were rarely expansive or prepared to move the ball wide to wingers Nick Cummins and Napolioni Nalaga.

It was fairly basic rugby, often involving two passes before attempting the quick recycle ball.

With the ball in the forwards the Force generated momentum with plenty of possession but stopped their own movement with errors.

As expected the Brumbies used a territorial kicking game from their own half for field possession that brought plenty of groans and boos from the home crowd. The Force employed the box kick plenty of times.

Too many kicks from both sides were wasteful and brought few attacking positions.

It was no-risk rugby with little time spent in the opposition 22.

James Stannard kicked four penalties in the first period and Brumbies scrum-half Nic White three.

Brumbies winger Jesse Mogg scored the first try, running into a hole left undefended close to the line. Full-back Robbie Coleman then took advantage of finding a prop and hooker in front of him out wide and went over in the corner. Both tries were unconverted.

Stannard added the Force's only five-pointer after a 10-phase attack.

·The Crusaders charged down a last-minute Piri Weepu drop goal to steal a 19-18 win over the Blues at Eden Park last night.

The home team had started strongly with tries to blindside flanker Chris Lowrey and winger David Raikuna in the opening 10 minutes, pressuring the Crusaders at the breakdown and capitalising on useful turnover ball.

The boot of rookie fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal kept the Crusaders in the game with two early penalties, then powerful centre Robbie Fruean punished some weak Blues defending to score to put the Crusaders ahead for the first time at the 20-minute mark.

The Crusaders' scrum and forward play was as solid as ever and, with the Blues' lineout misfiring, the visitors gained the ascendancy.

The West Australian

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