Super Rugby made it’s joyous return to Australia with an all Ozzy encounter. The Western Force had endured a shaky season last year but with the introductions of rugby league converts, Chance Peni and Curtis Rona, along with former Gloucester centre, Billy Meakes, the ship seems to have steadied. On the other hand, the Waratahs had lost a legend of the club Tatafu Polota-Nau to the Force. Despite that loss, they have bolstered the front-row with Sekope Kepu rejoining after a short spell at Bordeaux Begle in France.
Last season had been a wrought for the Waratahs, losing 4 of their 8 games at home. Allianz stadium had lost it’s fortress power but they could bring that back in round one.
Straight from kickoff, the Force were penalised at the breakdown for not releasing. Reece Robinson then knocked over the penalty to kick the scoring off straight away.
The Force were showing an attacking presence that they had missed last year. However when Adam Coleman carried the ball up, Tolu Latu latched onto the ball and earned another penalty. Robinson again disected the posts.
The Western Force were constantly in attacking positions. They then exploited an opportunity after they annihilated a scrum. They were awarded an advantage so Richard Hardwick scooped the ball out the back of the scrum. He then passed to Ryan Lowrens who superbly offloaded to Jono Lance. The former Waratah was never going to be stopped and when he converted his own try, the score was 6-7 to the Force.
Tolu Latu had been in fine form and was dominating the breakdown. He was straight into a ruck and jackalled the ball. Nobody was ever going to be able to ruck the 110 kg piece of meat off the ball and another penalty was awarded. Reece Robinson again banged over the penalty.
Jono Lance replied with a penalty of his own after the Tahs kept infringing at the scrum. He was also given another shot at goal due to Kane Koteka’s rucking. He had no problem with the kick one again.
Will Skelton was returning after a short spell at Saracens and was back to his try scoring ways. 6ft 8″ giant is impossible to stop from 5 metes out as Curtis Rona found out. He was bumped off and Skelton reached out over his shoulder and grounded the ball. Reece Robinson converted and hit another penalty to top off a great performance. Despite the loss, the Force will still be happy as it was a massive improvement from last season.