Force secure historic win over Reds to move into second spot

Sat, Mar 23, 2024, 8:28 AM
by Nick Taylor
Highlights from the Round 2 clash of Super Rugby Women's 2024 between the Western Force Women and Queensland Reds Women

Western Force scored an historic first Buildcorp Super Rugby Women's win over the Queensland Reds, beating the visitors 24-14 at HBF Park on Saturday.

The Round 2 victory kept them in second place behind the Waratahs on points difference heading into next Saturday's crucial away clash with third-placed Fijiana Drua.

The second consecutive win was set-up by a strong forwards performance with three tries coming from the pack.

Prop Natsuki Kashiwagi and hooker Sara Cline gave the Force a 14-7 half-time lead after the Reds' No.2 Tiarna Molloy had given her side an early lead.

After the break reserve hooker Hera-Barb Malcolm Heke added her name to the scoresheet while winger Siutiti Ma'ake made sure the backs had a look-in.

Force coach Dylan Parsons made a handful of changes from the squad that opened the season with a 36-12 win over the Melbourne Rebels.

Utility back Sealua Leaula started on the right wing after coming off the bench against the Rebels, replacing Haylee Hifo who was unavailable after going through head injury protocols.

Japanese international prop Hinata Komaki, Manusina Samoa international lock Alanis Toia and Tongan PacificAus sports scholarship holder Ma’ake were all on the bench to make their super W debuts.

Parsons said they would celebrate the win but would quickly come back to earth for the next game.

"We can do so much better," Parsons said.

"We will enjoy the moment and the emotion around it but when he we look at the footage we know there's a lot to get better at and need that going forward.

"Bonus points are key for this competition, two from two with a bonus point in hand puts us in a strong position but this competition can change pretty quickly."

Parsons said the forwards were proving to be a strength.

"Our preview was we wanted to go after the Reds forward pack," he said.

"We felt that was an opportunity. The impact squad we bring on, the forwards, is our strength. It's definitely a strategy of ours."

The first half ebbed and flowed in an arm wrestle with the Force under early pressure, finding themselves behind after just two minutes.

A handling error compounded by a penalty gave the visitors an opportunity for three points but they turned it down and took a line-out where Molloy was on the back of a strong maul to crash over, converted by Lori Cramer.

The Force hit back eight minutes later.

They took a Reds line-out near their line and after some close passing prop Kashiwagi crashed through. Scrum-half and player of the game Samantha Wood added the extras.

After the early setback the Force stepped up with some huge hits in defence, forcing errors, and looked keen to spread the ball wide.

They were also on the end of some strong Reds tackles as they tried patiently to force their way through the visitors' midfield.

They took the lead after they rumbled a huge, unstoppable, rolling maul 23-metres from a line-out where hooker Cline went over. Wood converted from wide.

Both sides tested the referee's patience before the break, the Force conceding eight penalties, the Reds seven.

The visitors started the second-half strongly but were met by more bruising defence and the Force worked their way into the Reds 22-metres.

The arm wrestle continued and the Force threatened to break the Reds line a number of times.

The pressure finally told and from a line-out it was the forwards who went to work again, Malcolm Heke at the back of a rolling maul to score.

The Reds hit back with a long range try, Ivania Wong finding a hole in the defence to feed Caitlin Urwin. Carys Dallinger converted.

Buy the home side increased their lead when Ma'ake was on the end of a lovely cut-out pass to score in the corner.

The win came at a cost with injuries winger Rosie McGehan (knee) and back-rower Pia Tapsell (elbow).

Western Force 24

Tries: Kashiwagi, (10'), Cline (27'), Malcolm Heke (59'), Ma'ake (69')

Conversions: Wood (2/4)

Penalties: Nil

Queensland Reds 14

Tries: Molloy (3'), Urwin (66')

Conversions: Cramer (1/1), Dallinger (1/1).

Penalties: Nil

Our AFGRI Player of the Match, Samantha Wood! 👏👏 Congratulations on being named our MVP for Round 2 and well done on the historic win today 🙌 AFGRI Equipment Australia

Posted by Western Force Rugby on Saturday, March 23, 2024

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