The Western Force had played at AMI Park and were lining up to play at Eden Park in two consecutive weeks! They are two fortresses. This time out, the Force faced the likes of Rieko and Akira Ioane and Jerome Kaino who play for the Blues in New Zealand. It would be tough but this Force side is bursting with potential so it made for a good game…
Jono Lance kicked things off with a nicely struck penalty but they were not done there. Tetera Faulkner made a strong carry to get them just one metre out. Then some quick ball allowed Richie Arnold to clatter over much to the delight of his fellow players.
The Blues realised that they needed to step up their game and they began to pick up the pace. Akira Ioane, who was on as an early replacement, took a quick tap and caught the Force napping. Isa Naisarani made no effort to retreat and it was deemed synical by the referee which caused the Number 8 to be shown a yellow card.
They kicked to the corner and from that Akira Ioane managed to clamber over from the back of a maul. Despite the conversion, the Blues still trailed by one single point.
George Moala then sparked a moment of magic. The 26 year old threw a marvellous dummy which sent Alex Newsome the opposite direction! He put his head down and simply fed the pass to Matt Duffy who ran in for a fantastic score! This pushed the Blues ahead for the first time.
Some of the Blues pay had been sensational but none so much as this phase. Rieko Ioane handed off Chance Peni on his own 22 metre line and found the offload to Michael Collins. The fullback then found the pass Tim Nanai-Williams who in turn passed back to Rieko Ioane and the replacment finished off a sensational try!
The Blues had gone up a gear and were beginning to show their class. Ihaia West made a great break and passed to Michael Collins. Collins looked for support but decided to put his head down. He evaded the tackle over Michael Ruru and Chance Peni to dive in for another magical score! The Blues were playing with style!
The Force were just playing for pride now and Matt Phillip sparked something from his own 22. He made a long 40 metre break and found the pass to Dane Haylett-Petty. The Australian international slipped out of Jerome Kaino’s tackle and sped in for another great try! A marvellous game ended in defeat for the Force but a well deserved victory for the Blues.