The Brumbies left it late to beat the Force 25-17 in a tight, error-strewn Australian derby at GIO Stadium in Canberra.
Two late tries from Kyle Godwin’s and Robbie Abel sealed the deal try and gave the Brumbies their first win of 2017 as they outscored their opponents, four tries to two.
The home team started strong, scoring tries from Henry Speight and Wharenui Hawera to go 10-nil up.
But tries, either side of the break by captain Heath Tessmann and Chance Peni as well as Hawera’s poor goal-kicking, gave the Force a 10-14 lead.
It was not to be for the visitors; the two late tries saw the Brumbies home and no thanks, to the Ross Haylett-Petty’s 71st-minute yellow card.
The Force pushed the home side for the full 80 minutes in a physical encounter between the two Australian teams, but the Brumbies’ hunger for their first win proved too much for the visitors in the end.
Henry Speight kicked off proceedings for the home team, barging over from close range in the 14th minute to score his second try in three games and give his team a five-point lead.
The Brumbies’ defense was solid as a wall early in the game, seeing out numerous attacking opportunities by the Force who looked threatening with the ball.
Stephen Larkam’s forwards meant business as they dominated the scrums, pushing the visitors forward pack back more than 10 meters at times and earning several penalties.
The Force did well to prevent Ben Alexander from crossing the line after a huge run but were unable to hold the home side out for long as fly half Wharenui Hawera dived over for the Brumbies’ second on the very next play, registering his first Super Rugby try.
A late score from Heath Tessman off the back of penalty gave the away team their first points of the night, which was then successfully converted to reduce to margin to just three at the break.
The Force picked up where they left off after the resumption, throwing a long ball to Chance Peni to put the winger over in the corner in the 43rd minute taking the lead off the home team.
Both teams then slotted a penalty kick each to take the score to 13-17 to the Force with ten minutes left on the clock.
A brain snap by Ross Haylett-Petty earnt the visiting lock a yellow card, which provided the Brumbies’ with the chance they needed to record their first victory and it only took the home team two minutes to capitalize on having an extra man as Kyle Godwin ran through a gap to give the Brumbies’ back the lead.
Haylett-Petty’s yellow card proved even more costly seven minutes later as Robbie Abel crossed off the back of a rolling maul to seal the win for the Brumbies.
Final score Brumbies 25 Force 17
Tries – Speight, Hawera, Godwin, Abel
Pen – Hawera
Con – Hawera
Tries – Tessmann, Peni
Pen – Lance
Con – Lance (2)
Cards – Ross Haylett-Petty (Yellow, 71st minute)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann
Assistant Ref 1: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Ref 2: Graham Cooper
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore
15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Ben Hyne, 5 Sam Carter (c), 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Ben Alexander
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Tom Staniforth, 21 Lolo Fakaosilea, 22 De Wet Roos, 23 Andrew Smith
15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Chance Peni, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Heath Tessmann (captain), 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Onehunga Havili Kaufusi, 20 Isi Naisarani, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Ian Prior, 23 Robbie Coleman.