The Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels will be playing for pride in this match as neither team can reach the Super Rugby play-off.
There will be added spice in this contest as one of these teams will not be playing Super Rugby next season after the Australian Rugby Union named them as the two teams up for being kicked out of Super Rugby.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
The Western Force and the Melbourne Rebels walk out side by side to the classic Dire Straits’ song, Brothers in Arms.
Both teams’ future is in doubt following the decision to cut three teams from Super Rugby. The Cheetahs and the Kings have already been cut, moving to the Pro12 in Europe.
1.00: BEEP! BEEP! we are underway in Perth, Will Houston blows for the start of the match. Reece Hodge kicks left and the Rebels have the ball.
2.00: The visitors earn an early penalty and will take a shot at goal from 45 metres out. they have the worst goal-kicking statistical percentage in Super Rugby, so this is not a given.
3.00: PENALTY! Reece Hodge makes no mistake: 0-3
5.00: Steve Cummins is down with a head or neck injury after running into Chance Peni. The TMO is looking at the replay and we might have a card because of a shoulder. The new replay looks bad for Peni. The wing’s shoulder has hit the lock on the chin.
6.00: YELLOW CARD! Chance Peni is in the sin-bin for a reckless challenge.
8.00: TRY Billy Meakes! From a lineout on the 10-metres line, Richard Hardwick steps to the right and puts Isi Naisarani, on an angled run, through the gap. The No 8 goes into the 22 and passes on his outside shoulder to Meakes, in support, and the centre runs clear to score: 5-3
9.00: Peter Grant adds the extras: 7-3
11.00: The home team have another penalty. Grant kicks a long, deep kick and the Force will look to go to a driving maul. The Force try the same move as they did for Meakes’ try, but this time, they botch the lineout move, up.
15.00: It’s all the Western Force at the minute. They look like the team with an extra man, not 14 players. They are keeping possession and playing inside the Rebels’ half of the field.
16.00: Chance Peni returns, just in time too because the Rebels have a lineout inside his side’s 22. James Hanson’s throw is won by the Force and they launch a counter-attack from deep. a kicking duel ensues, but then the Rebels win a penalty… and go quickly.
20.00: The Force come again, this time Peni puts boot to the ball inside the Rebels’ 22, but he can’t connect with his kick. The Rebels look to punch up the field with their big ball carriers. The Melbourne side’s passing is poor and their handling not so great, either and they turn the ball over.
22.00: TRY Marika Koroibete! Amanaki Mafi breaks from deep inside his half and plays Koroibete. The wing plays a one-two with Hugh Sinclair before running away to score – what a try! 7-8
23.00: Hodge puts the Rebels in front: 7-10
25.00: MISS! Grant misses from 30 metres, and in front of the posts, and cannot level the scores: 7-10
28.00: The game is very open, both sides are trying to attack with every opportunity, however, the finishing is poor and the players keep making the wrong decisions, whether in attack or defence.
31.00: The Force, with some great build-up, go through the phases, gaining ground in the tackle and getting over the gain line, but somehow, they lose the ball under the posts. They are getting over the advantage line 73 percent of the time, while the Rebels are only going at 41 percent.
33.00: It’s frenetic at nib Stadium. Meakes goes close but is held up. Pek Cowan goes close but is shut out too. The home team do get the scrum. It all started after Peter Grant’s kick was charged down.
35.00: Referee Will Houston, saying what we are all thinking, that he can’t reset every scrum. The set piece is the most infuriating part of modern rugby.
36.00: TRY Adam Coleman! The Force batter the Rebels goal-line, and after five phases, the big man gets low and crashes through two defenders to score. The TMO confirms Mr Houston’s assertion that a try was scored: 12-10
37.00: Grant does not miss this time: 14-10
38.00: Tatafu Polota-Nau loses the ball forward – again. The Force are going 40/50 metres and getting over the advantage line very easily, but then their handling lets them down.
40.00: TRY Koroibete at the double! Jackson Garden-Bachop makes a break, frees the wing before he passes to Mitch Inman, on his inside. Inman races clear, but Koroibete continues his run, comes back in-field and is played in by the centre. What a try! 14-15
41.00: MISS! Hodge cannot extend his side’s lead: 14-15
The half-time score was Force 14 Rebels 15
41.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are back underway at nib Stadium in Perth for the second-half of the second Australian derby with a high Peter Grant restart.
42.00: The force power their way up the field. Billy Meakes is a wrecking ball in midfield, getting over the gain line and punching holes in the Rebels defence. eventually, they lose the ball but win a penalty for offsides.
43.00: PENALTY! Grant puts the Force back in front: 17-15
45.00: Tatafu Polota-Nau almost scores after Tom Banks loses the ball on his try line. The move started from a botched lineout by the Rebels.
48.00: It’s been all Western Force in the opening 10 minutes of the second-half.
49.00: TRY Richard Hardwick! The flanker picks up from close range, swivels and dots down. The Force went 12 phases, marching the rebels back before the dam wall broke: 22-15
50.00: Grant makes it a nine-point lead for his team: 24-15
52.00: TRY Chance Peni! The Force go another dozen phases, bashing through Rebels defenders, offloading, popping inside and out before a long pass goes to the returning wing, who cuts inside two defenders to score: 29-15
53.00: Grant adds another conversion to stretch the lead: 31-15
58.00: The rebels have possession deep inside the Force’s 22, they go 15 phases and are pounding, winning a penalty for offsides by Ross Haylett-Petty.
59.00: TRY Colby Fainga’a! Jackson Garden-Bachop takes the ball to the gain line, feints and sends the ball to the flanker to score. Koroibete ran a good decoy, opening up space for the flank: 31-20
60.00: Hodge adds the two points: 31-22
63.00: The Rebels have all the momentum and are putting their hosts under the pump. Somehow, they win the ball back after turning it over, and then they lose it just as quickly.
65.00: Wonderful work by Colby Fainga’a at the breakdown. The flanker saves the day after some good work by the Force. The Rebels work their way down the field and win a penalty. Reece Hodge kicks a banana into the stand, so the rebels will have a lineout inside the Force’s 22.
67.00: The Rebels win a penalty and will attempt a tough, sideline kick from about 47 metres.
68.00: MISS! It’s wide from Reece Hodge, and some of the Rebels’ heads drop: 31-22
71.00: The players are tiring and the handling errors are mounting. The Rebels look dead on their feet.
75.00: The clock is ticking down for the Rebels; they have a scrum on their 10-metres line and need to score quickly. The rebels go five phases without making any metres.
77.00: They keep coming, but lose the ball, and any hope of victory with another turnover.
79.00: The Force have the scrum feed, inside their half, but are penalised for collapsing. The Rebels go quickly…
80.00: Players are down on the field, they have given everything, but one side will not be back next season. The hooter sounds…
The final score is Force 31 (14) Rebels 22 (15)
Tries – Meakes, Coleman, Hardwick, Peni
Pen – Grant
Con – Grant (4)
Cards – Peni (Yellow, 6th minute)
Tries – Koroibete (2), Fainga’a
Pen – Hodge
Con – Hodge (3)
Referee: Will Houston
Assistant Ref 1: Damon Murphy
Assistant Ref 2: Graham Cooper
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore
15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Chance Peni, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman (captain), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Jono Lance, 23 James Verity-Amm.
15 Jonah Placid, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Murray Douglas, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Fereti Sa’aga, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Jack Maddocks