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Thread: Force RAWR against the Lions

  1. #1
    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    Force RAWR against the Lions

    The Emirates Western Force have kicked their season into drive and made a winning start to their South African tour with an impressive 12 point victory against the Lions at a rain lashed Coca Cola Park in Johannesburg.

    The West Australian’s gave skipper Nathan Sharpe, who equalled George Gregan’s all-time Super Rugby appearance record, a game to remember as they overpowered a determined Lions outfit.

    Matt Hodgson starred as the visitors who produced a powerful, forward-dominated performance to tame the Lions and atone for the disappointment following last weekend’s draw against the Blues.

    “It was really important for us to get the result we’ve been working so hard for,” Head Coach Richard Graham said.

    “The result is reward for the boy’s efforts over the last couple of weeks. Now that we’ve got that under our belt we need to make it the catalyst to take our season forward,” said Graham.

    “I thought our forwards were outstanding, the scrum was very good and the line-out performed well, it was them that really set a platform for the backs to take advantage.”

    Defence was again a key for the Emirates Western Force who kept the South African’s try-less while running in two of their own to Nick Cummings and Alfie Mafi. James O’Connor was again on target with the boot, contributing 15 points.

    The initial exchanges unsurprisingly saw both sides respond to the damp, slippery conditions by keeping it tight, preferring to let the forwards work through the phases rather than risk spreading the greasy ball out into the hands of the backs.

    Indeed, so keen were the Force’s forwards to keep possession, it wasn’t until the eighth minute that O’Connor managed to get the ball in hand, and he needed no second invitation to weave some trademark magic.

    His clever chip caught the home defence too high and too flat, allowing Nick Cummings to burst clear and after the forwards took over to rumble closer to the line, the ball was moved rapidly out to the left where Cummings again popped up in the right place at the right time to slide over in the corner.

    O’Connor was unable to ice the early cake with the conversion, but swiftly made amends by landing a penalty to take the visitors out to an 8-0 lead.

    Richard Graham’s men were steadily starting to take control and that was further reflected on the scoreboard midway through the half when Lions hooker Bandise Maku was penalised for going off his feet at a ruck right in front of the posts and O’Connor calmly added another three points.

    Displaying the kind of aggressive and abrasive defence that served them so well against both the Reds and the Blues this season, the West Aussies continued to look the better side, but couldn’t quite translate that dominance into points.

    Instead, several rare forays downfield from the hosts saw fly-half Elton Jantjies land three long-range penalty goals to reduce the deficit to two points, before O’Connor responded in kind on the stroke of half-time.

    Half-time: Lions 9 - 14 Emirates Western Force

    The Lions, clearly encouraged by the fact that they were still within reach of the Perth side, despite being outplayed and outfought for much of the first-half, they began the second period brightly and should have bagged their first try ten minutes in, only for skipper Franco van der Merwe to knock on with the try-line in sight.

    Moments later O’Connor found himself rather harshly yellow carded by referee Mark Lawrence and Jantjies took advantage to stroke home his fourth penalty of the night and move his side to within two points.

    When Jantjies bagged a drop-goal the Lions took the lead for the first time in the game and the drummers in the crowd went into over-drive, but were almost immediately stunned back into silence by a superb piece of vision from Cameron Shepherd.

    The star fullback collected a wayward clearance by the home side, chipped over advancing defenders to re-gather under pressure and release Mafi who had a clear run to the line from 30 metres out.

    Shepherd then showed more fancy footwork by nailing a tricky conversion from wide out on the left to hand his side a six-point advantage.

    When O’Connor emerged from the sin-bin to boot two more penalty goals the result was put beyond doubt.

    Pat Dellit and Matt Brandon were handed their debuts as Graham cleared the subs bench to enable the entire match-day 22 to play a part in the club’s first win of the 2011 Super Rugby season.

    The Emirates Western Force now head to Cape Town and a meeting with the Stormers at Newlands next Saturday.

    “It’s another big challenge. We’ll again work hard at training throughout the week to prepare well so that we can build on tonight’s performance,” Graham said.

    2011 Super Rugby – Week 5
    Lions 15 (Pen: Elton Jantjies 4; DG: Jantjies 1)
    Emirates Western Force 27 (Tries: Nick Cummins, Alfie Mafi; Conv: Cameron Shepherd; Pen: James O’Connor 5)
    Saturday, 19 March 2011 at Coca Cola Park, Johannesburg

    Crowd: 13,535
    Milestones: Nathan Sharpe – 136th Super Rugby Cap – equals all time competition record, Pat Dellit – Super Rugby & Emirates Western Force debut, Matt Brandon - Super Rugby & Emirates Western Force debut

    By the Clock
    10 min Nick Cummins try for the Emirates Western Force 0 – 5
    11 min James O’Connor missed conversion for the Emirates Western Force 0 – 5
    14 min James O’Connor penalty goal for the Emirates Western Force 0 – 8
    16 min Burton Francis missed penalty goal for the Lions 0 – 8
    21 min James O’Connor penalty goal for the Emirates Western Force 0 – 11
    28 min Elton Jantjies penalty goal for the Lions 3 – 11
    34 min Elton Jantjies penalty goal for the Lions 6 – 11
    38 min Elton Jantjies missed penalty goal for the Lions 6 – 11
    39 min Elton Jantjies penalty goal for the Lions 9 – 11
    40 min James O’Connor penalty goal for the Emirates Western Force 9 – 14
    Half time Lions 9 – 14 Emirates Western Force
    44 min Elton Jantjies missed penalty goal for the Lions 9 – 14
    49 min Tim Fairbrother replaced by Kieran Longbottom
    49 min Ben Whittaker replaced by Nathan Charles
    51 min James O’Connor Yellow Card
    52 min Matt Hodgson blood bin replaced by Tevita Metuisela
    52 min Elton Jantjies penalty goal for the Lions 12 – 14
    56 min Matt Hodgson return from blood bin
    57 min Elton Jantjies drop goal for the Lions 15 – 14
    58 min Sam Wykes replaced by Tom Hockings
    58 min Alfie Mafi try for the Emirates Western Force 15 – 19
    59 min Cameron Shepherd conversion for the Emirates Western Force 15 – 21
    64 min James O’Connor penalty goal for the Emirates Western Force 15 – 24
    66 min Richard Brown replaced by Tevita Metuisela
    70 min James O’Connor penalty goal for the Emirates Western Force 15 – 27
    71 min Brett Sheehan replaced by James Stannard
    71 min Nick Cummins replaced by Pat Dellit
    72 min James O’Connor missed conversion for the Emirates Western Force 15 – 27
    75 min James O’Connor replaced by Matt Brandon
    Full time Lions 15 – 27 Emirates Western Force

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  2. #2
    Senior Player Hoolly Doolly's Avatar
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    I am so looking fwd to seeing the battle of the backrows next weekend!
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    I don't think many other teams would have lost to us last night, though I'll take the win as a stepping stone to the rest of the season.
    The Lions should have been featuring in a curtain raiser somewhere.

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Otoh, I don't think many other teams would have scored more than two tries. The defense was pretty good in all aspects, just need to get some attacking plays other than truck it up or pass it out to the guy on the end of the line.

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    C'mon the

  5. #5
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    Sour grapes after match interview of the year would have to go to the Lions Captain though, flogger.

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    "Bloody oath we did!"

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  6. #6
    Senior Player Hoolly Doolly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    Sour grapes after match interview of the year would have to go to the Lions Captain though, flogger.
    Details plz? What did he say?
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    Been a short and shitty nights sleep since then Haji, but the gist of it was that Lions errors "kept them (Force) in the match", plus a few other lines that could have suffered from PDV Translation Disorder and be taken either way.
    At the time my exclaimation to no one in particular was, "You f*cking wanker, what a tool!" as I recall...

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    "Bloody oath we did!"

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  9. #9
    Rookie Alex's Avatar
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    Cummins not Cummings. When will people learn.

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