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Brett's kick earns Blues a draw with the Force

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Article Published: Saturday 12 March 2011|

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Stephen Brett kicked an extra time penalty to earn the Blues a 22-all draw against the Force in Perth after the Force had looked on track for their first win this season.

Three minutes from time with Blues trailing by ten points captain Keven Mealamu scored a try which Brett converted cutting the deficit to three points.

Mealamu's late try brought the Blues back from nowhere as it did in Round One against the Crusaders only this time the Blues had left it a little late.

With a slender three point lead after Mealamu's try the Force tried to hold on to the ball but gave away a penalty which allowed Brett to snatch the draw.

James O'Connor was outstanding in attack, defence and his kicking but the Force again showed they have enough talent to beat just about any team in Super rugby on attack but not yet enough experience in defence to hold out for the victory.

The match was another agonising near miss for the Force, who remain winless after three games but they will be kicking themselves as they led 22-12 with just three minutes to play.

The brilliance of James O'Connor looked to have secured a Force win, but the match turned when Jono Jenkins was sent off, leaving his side a man down for the last few minutes.

Blues captain Kevin Mealamu then burrowed over for his side's first try in the 77th minute to ensure a tense finish.

Then with just 15 seconds left on the clock, the Force conceded a penalty and Blues reserve Stephen Brett stepped up to slot it through the uprights to snatch a draw.

Mealamu admitted his side was lucky to grab the draw.

"Fairly disappointing," he said of their performance. "Our execution wasn't up to scratch against a team that wanted it passionately. We are a better team than that."

Force skipper Nathan Sharpe could only lament another near miss.

"It stinks," he said. "We controlled the game for most of it and to end up with a draw is very disappointing."

Until the late surge by the Blues, it appeared O'Connor had laid the foundation for an upset Force win.

He made six of seven attempts with the boot, with five penalties and one conversion.

O'Connor started the move which led to the Force's only try in the 38th minute.

The 20-year-old produced a superbly weighted chip and then charged forward to regain possession, before handing off to Sam Wykes, who dived over for just the Force's second try of the season.

The decision went upstairs and Wykes's effort was ruled out as the ball was held up.

From the restart, however, the Force swept the ball wide and Wykes passed off to Nick Cummins for an easy try that gave the home team a 16-9 lead at the break.

Luke McAlister's fourth penalty conversion early in the second half closed the gap to four points, but successive penalties to O'Connor in the 50th and 62nd minutes gave the Force a 22-12 lead.

O'Connor made a rare mistake in the 70th minute when his long-range penalty attempt fell just short and it proved pivotal to the final result.

Final Score Force 22 Blues 22

Scorers

Force
Tries - N Cummins
Pen - J O'Connor 5
Con - J O'Connor
Drop -
Cards - Jono Jenkins 75th min Yellow

Blues
Tries - K Mealamu
Pen - L McAlister 4, S Brett.
Con - S Brett
Drop -
Cards -

Match Officials
Referee: Nathan Pearce
Assistant Ref 1:Stuart Dickinson
Assistant Ref 2:Julian Pritchard
TMO : George Ayoub

Teams

Force : 1. Pek Cowan,2. Ben Whittaker,3. AN Other,4. Sam Wykes,5. Nathan Sharpe,6. Richard Brown,7. Matt Hodgson,8. Ben McCalman,9. Brett Sheehan,10. .James O’Connor,11. David Smith,12. Gene Fairbanks,13. Nick Cummins,14. Alfie Mafi,15. Cameron Shepherd

Reserves:16. Nathan Charles,17. Matt Dunning,18. Tevita Metuisela,19. Jono Jenkins,20. James Stannard,21. Matt Brandon,22. Pat Dellit

Blues : 1. Tony Woodcock,2. Keven Mealamu (c),3. Charlie Faumuina, 4. Anthony Boric,5. Ali Williams,6. Jerome Kaino, 7. Daniel Braid, 8. Chris Lowrey,9. Toby Morland, 10. Luke McAlister,11. Rene Ranger, 12. Benson Stanley, 13. Jared Payne , 14. Joe Rokocoko, 15. Isaia Toeava

Reserves : 16. Tom McCartney,17. John Afoa,18. Kurtis Haiu, 19. Luke Braid,20 . Alby Mathewson,21 . Stephen Brett,22 . Sherwin Stowers

 
 
 
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