The Western Force earned their first Super Rugby victory of the 2016 season by beating the Queensland Reds 6-15 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Both teams lost their opening matches as the Force lost at home to the Rebels and the Reds were beaten in Sydney by the Waratahs.
Western Force fly-half Lance kicked five penalty goals from as many attempts and laid on the kick for winger Luke Morahan to score the only try in the battle of the two struggling Australian provinces.
Japanese star Ayumu Goromaru, starting at fullback for the first time in Super Rugby, kicked his team’s only points with two penalties, but missed two other attempts at vital stages in a scrappy encounter with few thrills.
Lance linked up with the Perth-based side via the New South Wales Waratahs this season and was the difference as Western Force nullified any Queensland attack with stout defence and kept their opponents pinned inside their own half with tactical kicking.
The Force led 9-3 at half-time and Lance continued to pile the pressure on the Reds with two more penalty goals as Goromaru was astray with one attempt and struck an upright with another shot.
The only try of a forgettable encounter came in the final minute when Lance cleverly angled a grubber kick towards the right-hand corner for Morahan to swoop on to the ball and score.
The dismal loss will only build more pressure on under-fire Reds coach Richard Graham after the Reds only won four games last season and look headed for another meagre season based on their opening two losses.
“I think our defence won it tonight,” Force skipper Matt Hodgson said.
“Not only as a forward pack, but as a whole unit. I think we offered them nothing in attack and we were lucky to score a try at the end. We played for a full 80 minutes which was exciting.”
The Reds have now won only three of their last nine encounters with the Force.
Next week in Round 3 the Reds play the Rebels in Melboourne at AAMI Park while the Force host the Brumbies in Perth.
Final Score Reds 6 (3) Force 22 (9)
Pen – A. Goromaru 2
Tries – L.Morahan
Pen – J.Lance 5
Con – I.Prior
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1:Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2:Damien Mitchelmore
TMO : George Ayoub
1. Ben Daley , 2. Saia Fainga’a , 3. Greg Holmes , 4. Cadeyrn Neville , 5. Rob Simmons (C) , 6. Hendrik Tui , 7. Curtis Browning , 8. Jake Schatz , 9. Nick Frisby , 10. Jake McIntyre , 11. Eto Nabuli , 12. Karmichael Hunt , 13. Samu Kerevi , 14. Chris Feauai-Sautia , 15. Ayumu Goromaru (run-on debut)
Replacements : 16. Andrew Ready , 17. Sef Fa’agase , 18. Sam Talakai , 19. Ben Matwijow , 20. Michael Gunn , 21. Scott Gale , 22. Sam Greene , 23. Junior Laloifi (Queensland/Super Rugby debut)
1. Pekahou Cowan , 2. Nathan Charles , 3. Guy Millar , 4. Steve Mafi , 5. Adam Coleman , 6. Brynard Stander , 7. Matt Hodgson , 8. Angus Cottrell , 9. Alby Mathewson , 10. Jono Lance , 11. Semisi Masirewa , 12. Solomoni (Junior) Rasolea , 13. Ben Tapuai , 14. Luke Morahan , 15. Dane Haylett-Petty
Replacements: 16. Heath Tessmann , 17. Chris Heiberg , 18. Jermaine Ainsley , 19. Ross Haylett-Petty , 20. Ben McCalman , 21. Ian Prior , 22. Peter Grant , 23. Marcel Brache