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Force down toothless Lions for first victory

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Article Published: Saturday 19 March 2011|

The Force secured their first win of the season when they beat the Lions 15-27 at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg.

By beating the Lions the Force kept their cleansheet at Coca-Cola Park as they have never lost at the venue.

The Force scored both tries in the match and James O'Connor controlled the match almost throughout. He was also shown a yellow card which sparked a shortlived revival for the Lions.

The Lions never really looked like scoring a try and had to rely on Elton Jantjies boot through penalties for all of their points.

With the exception of a good spell in the third quarter when they controlled matters due to James O'Connor being in the sin-bin and very briefly held the lead for the first and only time at 15-14, the Lions seemed just a shadow of the confident, exciting unit they were in the first four matches - despite losing three of those.

It was the first win of the season for the Force.

The Lions simply seemed out of kilter in damp conditions from rain earlier in the day. They gave suicide passes, missed passes to their team mates - seemingly through poor communication - and generally lacked the urgency.

They were also scrummed back on a few occasions and their lineout initially also provided sloppy possession.

It was a match that saw many penalties and handling errors that spoiled a running game both sides would have preferred. The wet field no doubt had an effect on the handling and even the lineouts.

In the first half there was very little continuity from either side, and the Lions in particular were penalised heavily in the first quarter at the breakdown. They seldom won clean and quick ball in this area.

It was a different matter after the break.

Three times the Lions fought their way forward through a number of phases, and once narrowly missed a mauling try - but three minutes later when the Force for the umpteenth time illegally spoiled clean ball Elton Jantjies atoned for two earlier misses with a sitter to close the gap to 14-12.

Force flyhalf James O'Connor was yellow-carded for his transgression in the ruck.

Three minutes later the Lions repeated the dose with good phase play.

This time Jantjies was in the pocket and slotted an easy drop.

But a fortuitous bounce and great following up from Cameron Shepherd just after the restart gave Force winger Alfie Mafi a clear run-in and with Cameron Shepherd's conversion and a penalty shortly after O'Connor's return, the Lions were 24-15 down with only 17 minutes remaining.

And that's how it stayed with little threat coming from the home side.

Final Score Lions 15 Force 27


Tries -
Pen - E Jantjies 4
Con -
Drop - E Jantjies
Cards -
Tries - N Cummins, A Mafi
Pen - J. O'Connor 4
Con -J O'Connor, C Shepherd
Drop -
Cards - James O'Connor 51st min Yellow

Match Officials
Referee: Mark Lawrence
Assistant Ref 1:Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 2:Reuben Rossouw
TMO:Johann Meuwesen


Force: Jaco Taute, Lionel Mapoe, Jannie Boshoff, Waylon Murray, Michael Killian, Elton Jantjies, Rory Kockott, Warren Whiteley, Josh Strauss, Derick Minnie, Franco van der Merwe (capt.), Wikus van Heerden, Patric Cilliers, Bandise Maku, JC Janse van Rensburg.

Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Kevin Buys, Michael Rhodes, Cobus Grobbelaar, Jano Vermaak, Burton Francis, Deon van Rensburg.

Western Force :1. Pek Cowan,2. Ben Whittaker,3. Tim Fairbrother,4. Sam Wykes,5. Nathan Sharpe (c),6. Richard Brown,7. Matt Hodgson (vc),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. Kieran Longbottom,18. Tom Hockings,19. Tevita Metuisela,20. James Stannard,21. Matt Brandon,22. Pat Dellit

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