Perth Force lose 36-19 to Super 12 champs



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The Emirates Western Force have gone down to Super 12 champions, the Crusaders, at trial game at Olympic Park in Melbourne before a crowd of 11,557.

On a wet track and in muggy conditions, with both sides dropping their fair share of ball, the New Zealanders – boasting All Blacks Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Reuben Thorne, Greg Somerville, Aaron Mauger, Chris Jack and Rico Gear – defeated the Perth team 36 to 19. 

The Emirates Western Force were the first to score in a mistake-ridden first half. Awarded a penalty, the forwards drove to within inches of the try line, from the resulting lineout, then threw the ball wide to Scott Staniforth who’d joined the backline from his blindside wing. The try was converted by Brock James. Score 7-0.

In the 8th minute, a kick-through from Crusader flyhalf Dan Carter was lost by the Emirates Western Force and the ball was swung first to the right, and then to the left, with Steven Yates going over for the try. The score was not converted. Score 7-5.

The Crusaders next score came from a kick-through and chase in the 20th minute, with the slippery ball evading the grasp of two Emirates Western Force defenders, allowing Yates to post his second. Try converted by Dan Carter. Score 7-12.

The New Zealanders were quickly back on the attack, and from a lineout in the 26th minute, they drove forward with captain Richie McCaw peeling from the maul and scoring in the corner. The try was not converted. Score: 7-17.

In the 34th minute, Emirates Western Force number eight Tim Davidson grubbered the ball through for flyer Scott Staniforth, who beat his Kiwi defender in the chase to post his second five-pointer. The try was not converted by Brock James. Score 12-17.

Half time: 12-17.

After half time, Nathan Sharpe, Scott Fava, Brennan Cannon, David Fitter, Digby Ioane, Lachlan MacKay and Cameron Shepherd joined Matt Henjak and Scott Staniforth (who both started the game) in making their debut for the Emirates Western Force but couldn’t stop the Crusaders, who seemed far more comfortable with the slippery ball as the game wore on.

In the 44th minute, Crusader Aaron Mauger charged down a clearance kick from Lachlan MacKay to score the New Zealanders’ fourth try. It was converted by Dan Carter. Score 12-24. Another chargedown by the Crusaders almost led to another try in the 48th minute.

When referee Brett Browden missed a Scott Yates knock-on in the 53rd minute, and the visitors momentarily paused for the whistle, Crusaders fullback Scott Hamilton crossed the line after a series of passes. The try was converted by Stephen Brett. Score 12-31.

In the 69th minute, Emirates Western Force prop Angus Scott scored a pushover try from a lineout taken by lock Pat O’Connor. The try was converted by Lachlan MacKay. Score 19-31.

In the 73rd minute, Crusaders Tim Taylor broke through for the Crusaders sixth try. The try was not converted. Score 19-36.

FINAL SCORE: Emirates Western Force 19 – Crusaders 36 at Olympic Park, Melbourne.

Emirates Western Force: Tries – Staniforth 2, Scott 1. Conversions – James 1, MacKay 1.

Crusaders: Tries – Yates 2, McCaw, Mauger, Hamilton, Taylor. Conversions – Carter 2, Brett 1.

Crowd: 11,557

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