Force cop eight-try Super Rugby belting

Chris Pike
Force cop eight-try Super Rugby belting

The Highlanders have put the Western Force to the sword with a six-try second half in a 55-6 Super Rugby win in Perth.

After losing three of their first four games this season, the Highlanders are on a roll with an eighth-consecutive win, demolishing the Force on Saturday at nib Stadium.

The Highlanders scored eight tries in all to be averaging 39 points a game over their winning run. It keeps them in touch for second spot in the New Zealand conference, two points behind the Hurricanes and Chiefs, with the Crusaders runaway leaders.

The Highlanders' running game was on song, while the visitors took advantage of passing errors by the home team and dominated the breakdown on the absence of Ben McCalman and Matt Hodgson.

The Force, still second last in the Australian conference, looked a tired outfit on returning from a loss to the Sharks and a win over the Jaguares on the road.

The night started badly for the Force when experienced five-eighth Peter Grant left after a nasty head knock.

Tries to Tevita Li and Aki Seiuli gave the Highlanders a 17-6 halftime lead. But when Force pair Semisi Masirewa and Richard Arnold were in the sin bin early in the second half, the Highlanders started to roll.

It began with a try to Patrick Osborne in the 44th minute. Prop Seiuli added his second seven minutes later and the procession continued.

Rob Thompson scored in the 59th minute, before Dillion Hunt crossed five minutes later after a blistering run from Lima Sopoaga. Another Billy Meakes pass was chopped off in the 67th minute leading to a Richard Buckman try.

The Highlanders added their eighth when Thompson crossed for a second time after the 80th minute.

The Force take on Queensland on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium. The Highlanders return home to host the NSW Waratahs on Saturday.

Highlanders coach Tony Brown couldn't be happier with the way his team crushed the Force.

"I thought the execution and clinical way we went about our work in the second half to end up putting 50 on the Force was outstanding," Brown said.

"They didn't help themselves with the two yellow cards either side of halftime which probably gave us plenty of momentum and put them under the pump. But, from a Highlanders point of view, it was really clinical and the pressure we applied was outstanding."

Force coach Dave Wessels was frustrated his team tried too much in the wet conditions.

"It wasn't good. We didn't play well at all. I just thought we were passive from the start of the game," Wessels said.

"In slippery conditions, we tried to be too clever without actually being tough enough. The Highlanders showed us exactly how to play by keeping it pretty simple. We did almost the opposite which was pretty frustrating."