Force I final after Moana Pacific victory



The Western Force kept their Super Rugby Pacific final hopeful by breaking their losing streak with a 48-28 win over Moana Pacific.

Playing their stalled Round-10 match in Auckland on Tuesday night, the Force ran in seven attempts to collect a crucial bonus point.

It came in the 78th minute when Kyle Godwin ran to break star winger Manasa Matale to the delight of his teammates.

The result means Perth’s men have moved up to ninth place in the stairs, three points behind the Highlanders in the top eight finals.

With five points on offer – four for a win and one bonus point for trying three or more opponents – they will now have to beat the fifth-ranked Hurricanes at home in Perth on Saturday night and rely on the tenth-placed rebels. Highlanders at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Captain Ian Pryor said it was a huge request for the Chiefs to back up after heavy losses – their seventh in a row – and the New Zealand tour.

“It was a tough week with a few big scorecards, but I’m very proud of the group,” the experienced halfback told Stan Sport.

“We have talked about responding to even the slightest change.

“It would be really special to come back home in front of our home crowd and try to be in the finals there and give ourselves the best chance.”

Force set up an impressive set piece to stop their athletic opponent and win behind some stilly defense, showing some effort in the attack.

Winger Tim Finga’Anukur’s two attempts led to a 14-5 lead at the start of the Pacific Ocean.

But they lost a yellow card to center Levi Aumua for an ugly lifting tackle by Richard Cahui.

Force fullback Jack McIntyre swings his team’s path three minutes later with the first goal of his two attempts.

Center Byron Ralston then crossed right at halftime, securing a 19-14 buffer by adding an Ian Pryor extra.

Force extended the lead to 20 points through Tony Pulu, McIntyre’s second and Jackson Pug, and it looked like they had bonus points in their keeping.

But Moana Pacific put Tau Kolomatangi on their toes in the 69th minute.

It sets a thrilling finish where the Force has to cross again to get extra points, with Godwin coming on top of Trump.

© AAP

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