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Reds edge out Force to secure home play off

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Article Published: Saturday 11 June 2011|

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The Reds secured a home Super Rugby play-off when they secured an unlikely 21-24 victory over the Force in Perth.

The tournament leading Reds spent most of the match on the backfoot but scored a try two minutes from time to snatch the crucial victory.

The Reds on 62 points can only be overtaken by the Stormers who would also earn a home play off if they did so the Reds have qualified for a home play off.

However if the Reds win again next week they will qualify for a home final and could miss the first round of the play-offs.

The Reds had to come from behind to beat a spirited Western Force who showed their intentions of upsetting the Queenslanders from the kick off.

Outplayed for much of the game and missing several players due to injury, the Reds stayed in touch through the brilliance of Quade Cooper who scored a try of his own and again set up others.

In a massive boost to their hopes of securing a home final, the Reds scored the winning try in the 79th minute through reserve Dom Shipperley.

The Force led 21-17 after a David Pocock try in the 68th minute, but the Reds mounted one last surge, putting enormous pressure on the Force defence as the clock ticked down.

The home side held firm, until Cooper desperately swung the ball out wide to Shipperley, who dived over in the corner.

Cooper then kicked a tough conversion to cap a fine game.

It was yet another agonising loss for the Force, beaten in the dying minutes in a host of games this season.

Again, it was a game they could have won, as they had the ladder leader on the back foot for much of the match.

Reds captain James Horwill said his side hung tough despite being down on form.

"We lacked a little bit of finish and gave away a lot of penalties, " he said. "Very happy we got the result in the end. "

The Force lost Captain Nathan Sharpe in the first half so David Pocock assumed the captaincy.

Pocock said the Force let the victory slip.

"We didn't convert our pressure in the middle 40 minutes and it came back to bite us in the end, " he said.

Up 16-14 at half-time, the Force should have led by more at the break after a thrilling start full of attacking intent rewarded by a try to Rory Sidey.

James O'Connor missed two conversions as the Force dominated possession, but Cooper stirred a response from his side when he went almost the full length of the field for an intercept try in the 12th minute.

After the Cooper try, Sidey gave his side a 13-7 lead with his second try in the 20th minute, reaching over after 13 phases.

The Force were rocked when captain Nathan Sharpe was helped from the field in the 25th minute, having landed awkwardly on his right ankle.

The Reds again hit back against the run of play in the 29th minute, when Liam Gill kicked the ball across the scrum and Scott Higginbotham gathered and dashed down the side line for an easy try.

Final Score Force 21 Reds 24

Scorers

Force
Tries - R Sidey 2, D Pocock.
Pen - J O'Connor 2
Con -
Drop -
Cards -

Reds
Tries - Q. Cooper, S Higginbotham, D Shipperley.
Pen - Q Cooper
Con - Q Cooper 3
Drop -
Cards -

Match Officials
Referee: Stuart Dickinson
Assistant referees: Nathan Pearce, Julian Pritchard
Television match official: George Ayoub

Teams

Western Force :1. Kieran Longbottom,2. Nathan Charles,3. Matt Dunning,4. Sam Wykes,5. Nathan Sharpe,6. Matt Hodgson,7. David Pocock,8. Richard Brown,9. Brett Sheehan,10. James Stannard,11. David Smith,12. Rory Sidey,13. Patrick Dellit,14. Nick Cummins,15. James O'Connor

Reserves:16. Ben Whittaker,17. Tim Fairbrother,18. Tom Hockings,19. Ben McCalman,20. Mark Swanepoel,21. Mitch Inman,22. Alfie Mafi

Reds :1. Ben Daley , 2. Saia Faingaa , 3. James Slipper , 4. Rob Simmons , 5. James Horwill (c) , 6. Scott Higginbotham , 7. Liam Gill , 8. Radike Samo , 9. Will Genia , 10. Quade Cooper , 11. Rod Davies , 12. Ben Tapuai , 13. Will Chambers , 14. Luke Morahan , 15. Jono Lance

Replacements :16. James Hanson,17. Greg Holmes,18. Adam Wallace-Harrison,19. Jake Schatz,20. Ben Coridas,21. Ian Prior,22. Dom Shipperley

 
 
 
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