Western Force stun Queensland Reds to open account in 2024

Sat, Mar 23, 2024, 10:18 AM
AW
by AAP and Nathan Williamson
Bayley Kuenzle Try from Round 5 of Super Rugby Pacific 2024

The Western Force have secured their first win of the year with a 40-31 victory over the high-flying Queensland Reds.

The Force entered the game on the bottom of the ladder but came out and showed the type of form that tested teams in patches in 2024.

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They went into the break with a 28-5 lead as halves Nic White and Ben Donaldson worked their magic.

Tate McDermott kept the Reds in the contest with the double but the Force kept responding as centre-turned-winger Bayley Kuenzle got his own pair of tries.

The Reds launched a late comeback but it was all the Force as they leap off the bottom of the ladder

The Force entered Saturday's match with a 0-4 record and with coach Simon Cron declaring the time for talk was over.

Cron's men defended grimly early on against the Reds, and the hard work eventually paid off.

A quick-fire counter-punch resulted in winger Bayley Kuenzle crossing in the 15th minute.

The Force's hardness at the contest helped create their second try, with a counter-ruck on the Reds' line allowing Thomas Franklin to touch down.

And it was 21-0 when an unmarked Chase Tiatia went over on the wing.

Reds scrum-half Tate McDermott briefly stemmed the bleeding with a 35th-minute try.

But his counterpart Nic White answered just 10 seconds before half-time, giving the Force a 28-5 lead at the break.

McDermott scored his second try just 90 seconds into the second half when he sold a dummy to White and strolled over.

But Harry Wilson's fumble of the restart handed the Force the instant reply, with the ball bobbling off the back-rower's arms and head before Kuenzle ran in to snatch it and race to the line.

There was a big thump of frustration from the Reds' coaches box when Force flanker Carlo Tizzano fended off an opponent in a 25m run to the line in the 54th minute.

Queensland sparked hope of a fightback with the final two tries of the match, but it was too little, too late.

The only downers for the Force were the loss of skipper Jeremy Williams to injury in the 27th minute, and a concussion to flanker Will Harris.

Reds centre Josh Flook was forced off in the second half following a head knock.  

Force 40

Tries: Kuenzle 2, Tizzano, Tiatia, White, Franklin

Cons: Donaldson 5/6

Pens: Donaldson 0/1

Reds 31

Tries: McDermott 2, Faessler, McReight, Campbell

Cons: Lynagh 2/4, McLaughlin-Phillips 1/1

WESTERN FORCE v QUEENSLAND REDS TEAMS

FORCE (1-15): Ryan Coxon, Tom Horton, Santiago Medrano, Thomas Franklin, Jeremy Williams (c), Tim Anstee, Carlo Tizzano, Will Harris, Nic White, Ben Donaldson, Chase Tiatia, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Bayley Kuenzle, Harry Potter

RESERVES: Ben Funnell, Josh Bartlett, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Lopeti Faifua, Reed Prinsep, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Max Burey, George Poolman

REDS (1-15): Peni Ravai, Matt Faessler, Zane Nonggorr, Seru Uru, Ryan Smith, Liam Wright (co-c), Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott (co-c), Tom Lynagh, Mac Grealy, Hunter Paisami, Josh Flook, Suliasi Vunivalu, Jock Campbell

RESERVES: Josh Nasser, George Blake, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Cormac Daly, John Bryant, Kalani Thomas, Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, Taj Annan

Referee: Damon Murphy

Assistant Referee: Graham Cooper, Jordan Kaminski

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