The Western Force will return to Perth with one win from its two-match South African tour after succumbing to the Stormers, 24-8, at Cape Town’s DHL Newlands tonight.
The Western Australians were forced to defend for the bulk of the first half with the Stormers claiming 71 per cent of possession and a 17-3 half-time lead.
While the visitors were able to find parity of possession by the final whistle, they were unable to pull back the 16-point margin, with the Stormers running our three-tries-to-one victors.
Captain Matt Hodgson continued his outstanding form in 2014, leading a strong showing from the Force back row, and was highly involved at the breakdown as well as crossing for his side’s only try inside the last 10 minutes of the match.
The Western Force’s defensive line was tested from the outset and while their efforts – and TMO Shaun Veldsman – denied the Stormers throughout the first 10 minutes of the match, flyhalf Peter Grant, playing in his 100th match for the Stormers, got the home side on the board with a penalty goal six minutes later.
The Stormers extended their lead when centre Juan de Jongh found himself on the end of a two-man overlap to cross for the first try of the match after 19 minutes.
Force flyhalf Sias Ebersohn pulled back three points through a penalty goal with his side’s first foray into the Stormers’ half two minutes later, however, the sin-binning of lock Adam Coleman just before the break proved decisive with the home side crossing for tries either side of half-time – a penalty try from a five-metre scrum and one to lock Ruan Botha – while the Force was reduced to 14 men.
The Force’s efforts to return from the 24-3 deficit received a boost at the 70-minute mark when winger Cheslin Kolbe and fullback Jaco Taute were shown yellow cards for infringements inside their defensive quarter.
While Hodgson crossed out wide for his fourth try of the season with nine minutes remaining, the Force was unable to cover the remaining 16-point margin.
With their two-match South African tour completed, the Force will return to Perth to face the Lions on Saturday, 24 May at the ‘Force Field’ (nib Stadium).
Stormers 24 (Juan de Jongh, Ruan Botha tries, Penalty Try; Peter Grant 3/3 conversions, 1/3 penalty goals) defeated Western Force 8 (Matt Hodgson try; Sias Ebersohn 0/1 conversion, 1/1 penalties).
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