The Western Force beat the Southern Kings 46-41 at NIB Stadium in Perth to claim their second win of the 2017 campaign.
Malcolm Jaer scored a hat-trick and Alex Newsome grabbed a double in a second half try-fest as the home team rallied from 25-38 down to win by five.
The first half was tight and scrappy as the home team raced to a 10-0 lead thanks to Jonno Lance, who kicked a penalty and converted his own try.
The visitors hit back through Justin Forwood before Newsome scored after the hooter to give the Force a 15-7 lead at the break. Cue bedlam after the break.
The second period started with four tries inside the opening 11 minutes as the Kings took a 13-point lead.
But the Force came back to win thanks to a late Ben McCalman score.
After Lance’s early penalty, Dane Haylett-Petty made a break, offloaded a long back-pass to his brother Ross Haylett-Petty in support. The flanker put Lance away in for the try and the hosts had a good lead after 10 minutes.
The game was close with both teams still testing each other out. It was the visitors who were growing stronger as the half wore on but they kept losing the ball in good field positions.
Eventually, with an attacking lineout close to the hosts’ try-line, Louis Schreuder urged his team that they need to score. And they did, powering over from a driving maul after Lionel Cronje put them in good field position.
As the half closed out, the Force showed some patience and Michael Ruru shifted the ball to the short side, Curtis Rona, on for Chance Peni, sent a wide pass, skipping two players and the winger went over in the far corner.
Whatever Kings coach Deon Davids said at the break, it has worked a treat as the Port Elizabeth men came out firing, putting on a 10-minute spell of inspiring attacking play.
Within four minutes of the restart, the Kings had turned around an eight-point deficit to lead 19-15.
First, Cronje gathered the ball deep inside his 22. The standoff straightened through the middle and ran into the Force’s half drew the defender and put Penxe away to score.
Jaer scored his first soon after. Schreuder made the initial break after taking the ball from Makazole Mapimpi.
The No 9 stepped inside and gave a lovely pass to the supporting fullback, who raced away. Cronje’s conversion was good and the Kings’ tails were up.
However, four minutes later, after 22 phases, the Force marched 65 metres downfield to score. It all started when Dane Haylett-Petty decided to run a kick back down the field and it ended with the fullback going over under the posts; Lance’s conversion gave the hosts a 22-19 lead.
But the Kings hit back. It came from a lineout. Forwood collected the loose throw, popped to Andisa Ntsila.
From the ruck hooker Michael Willemse passed left to Cronje, the fly-half put in a wonderful little grubber kick and Mapimpi latched onto the bouncing ball to score.
Lance then kicked a 56th-minute penalty to bring the scores to within a point at 25-24 to the Aussies.
It began with Cronje taking a flat ball and drifting to his right before producing an ‘around-the-world’ as Billy Meakes closed in for the tackle.
The Kings’ standoff delivered a magnificent little dink-grubber behind the Force’s rushing defence for the fullback to collect and dot down under the posts for his second try.
Moments later Jaer completed his 21-minute treble with a stunning score after an interception. The Fullback flier ran in untouched and his team was flying with a 13-point cushion.
The Perth men would not lie down and when Newsome charged down a kick to score, the South African’s lead was only six after Ian Prior’s conversion.
And, on 72 minutes, the Force elected to scrum under the Kings’ posts after they were initially held up and then awarded a penalty.
Their forwards bulldozed the visitors off the ball and were awarded a penalty try which gave them a one-point, 39-38 lead.
McCalman put the game to bed after a rolling maul despite Pieter-Steyn de Wet’s long-range penalty with two minutes remaining as the Force hung on for the victory.
Final Score: Force 46 (15) Kings 41 (7)
Tries – Lance, Newsome (2), D. Haylett-Petty, Penalty Try, McCalman
Pen – Lance (2)
Con – Lance (2), Prior (2)
Tries – Forwood, Penxe, Jaer (3), Mapimpi
Pen – De Wet
Con – Cronje (4)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 1: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Ref 2: Graham Cooper
TMO: George Ayoub
15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Chance Peni, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Richie Arnold, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Richard Hardwick, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Curtis Rona.
15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje (captain), 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Andisa Ntsila, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Justin Forwood, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Mzwanele Zito, 20 Tyler Paul, 21 Rick Schroeder, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Masixole Banda