The Western Force has defeated the Waikato Chiefs 18-15 in a massive upset at NIB stadium. This was the first time in 13 years that the Chiefs have been held to zero tries in a Super Rugby match played in Australia.
The three-point win does not reflect on the Force's work rate, effort and total defensive dominance in this game. Also don't be fooled by the post-game statistics, where the Chiefs seem to have had the edge in possession running nearly 200 metres more with 14 more phases.
Hodgson went over the line twice the first behind a rolling maul in the 13th minute and powered his way across once again in the 46th. The scoring was toped off by a conversion and two penalty goals from South African kicker Sias Ebherson.
In the scrum the Force somehow managed to gain an edge winning 7 scrums to the Chiefs 6 despite a considerable weight advantage stacked on the Chiefs side. The referee was not letting anything go in the scrum, with what seemed like the majority of the game being consumed by scrum restarts and penalties. This had made people question whether the game clock should be stopped on the second restart to avoid game time being wasted.
On the injury front Prop Kieran Longbottom was carried off in the 69th minute after taking a knee to the head during a tackle. Hugh McMeniman also seemed to have hurt his shoulder after returning to this game after a three-week long neck injury.
Coach Michael Foley said he was pleased with the effort his squad put in against a championship side and said, "the amount of character shown out there tonight against a championship side was outstanding".
It has only been three wins but the Force is sitting above the Queensland Reds in the Australian conference after their bye this weekend. They are also sitting above the Melbourne Rebels who seem to be the conference easy beats this season.
The Force have proven that they are able to beat any team in the competition after this performance over the reigning champions, a team widely regarded as the benchmark and the best team in the competition. With this effort continuing the Force will easily pose a threat to any team in the competition and be a strong competitor in the Australian conference.
Will this outstanding form continue?
Will the upcoming bye negatively or positively affect the coming weeks performances?
Written by Luke Worthington - Western Force Page Editor - @lwtrey5