The Western Force walloped the Melbourne Rebels 3-28 in the Australian Super Rugby Pacific contest at AAMI Park, Melbourne.
Tim Anstee and Kyle Godwin scored either side of the break to inspire the Western Force to a deserved Super Rugby victory over the Melbourne Rebels.
Byron Ralston came off the bench to claim the bonus point and the equal record 25-point win for the Force over the Rebels in Super Rugby.
Ian Prior was immaculate from the kicking tee. The scrumhalf landed all five kicks (3 pens, 2 cons) for 13 points, and he also assisted Godwin for the centre’s 43rd-minute try.
Tim Sampson’s charges took the points on offer, defended stoutly, and took their chances when it counted.
The opposite is true of Kevin Foote’s beleaguered side.
Matt To’omua landed one goal for the hosts in an insipid attacking display by Kevin Foote’s blunt charges.
The hosts did not score in the second half as the visitors shut them out, although the home team was their worst enemy.
After receiving two yellow cards, Reece Hodge was sent off to compound his team’s problems.
The Rebels remain winless after two matches, while the Force claims four points for a first win of the season.
A low-scoring game sees one try scored in a dull opening stanza
A scrappy, error-strewn first-half saw the Force take a deserved, although surprising, 13-3 lead.
Prior opened the scoring on 20 minutes after a frustrating first quarter of the Aussie derby.
The visitors began to take charge of the game, camping inside the opposition’s 22. The Rebels leaked five penalties in seven minutes.
This allowed Sampson’s side to kick to the corner on multiple occasions before the defence was finally breached.
The Force went to the back of the lineout to Anstee, who gathered and charged for the line.
Anstee was tackled, but the referee deemed he released the ball in the tackle and legally picked up to score.
Prior converted to open up a surprise 10-point lead before the half-hour.
The Rebels, however, fought back. To’omua put the hosts on the scoreboard with four minutes remaining in the half.
But To’omua missed a long-range effort. To make things worse, some ill-discipline from captain Michael Well saw Prior re-open the 10-point margin after the hooter sounded.
Wells shot out of the line and took out hooker Feleti Kaitu’u off the ball, costing his side three.
Western Force takes control of the game with 10 unanswered points in the third quarter before shutting out Rebels.
The second half started badly for Foote’s charges.
Hodge went to the sin-bin, and Godwin ghosted through some weak tackling from a scrum eight metres out.
Prior converted to make it a three-score game. The Rebels came close, but their maul did not function.
A 17-phase two-minute attack led to Prior knocking over his third goal to give the Perth side a commanding 20-point lead going into the last quarter.
The errors kept coming for the Rebels; several opportunities were squandered near the goal line because of poor handling in contact or misfiring set-pieces.
Sampson’s side held firm, repelling all that the home team threw at them, and were value for a solid defensive display and discipline away day win.
The hosts defended inside their half for the final 10 minutes, to make matters worse.
A deliberate knockdown by Hodge saw the fullback get a second yellow card before being sent off with a red.
Ralston combined with halfback Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, whose break set up the winger just before the hooter.
Jake McIntyre’s missed sideline conversion would have given the Western Australian franchise a record win over the Victorian outfit. Not to be.
A good night for the Force, a poor night for the Rebels.
Final Score: Melbourne Rebels 3 (3) Western Force 28 (13)
Pen – To’omua
Cards – Hodge (Yellow, 42′; 2nd Yellow/Red 77′)
Tries – Anstee, Godwin, Ralston
Pen – Prior (3)
Con – Prior (2)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Jordan way
Assistant Ref 2: James Palmer
TMO: Oli Kellett
15 Reece Hodge, 14 Young Tonumaipea, 13 Stacey Ili, 12 Raymond Nu’u, 11 Glen Vaihu, 10 Matt To’omua, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Michael Wells (captain), 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Sam Wallis, 5 Ross Haylett-Petty, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Cabous Eloff, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Thomas Nowlan, 20 Tamati Ioane-Niko, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Carter Gordon, 23 George Worth
15 Jake Strachan, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Richard Kahui, 11 Manasa Mataele, 10 Reesjan Pasitoa, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Tim Anstee, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Fergus Lee-Warner, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u (captain), 1 Tom Roberston
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Ollie Callan, 21 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Byron Ralston