The Emirates Western Force has fallen to the Sharks at nib Stadium tonight, going down 23-13.
The home side powered out to a 10-7 half-time lead before being run down in the second half; the Sharks scoring their second of two tries to help seal the 10-point margin.
Emirates Western Force inside centre and man of the match Kyle Godwin looked dangerous with ball in hand throughout the 80 minutes and crossed for his side’s only try while flanker Chris Alcock was brutal in defence during the first half, stunting a physical Sharks pack on numerous occasions.
Emirates Western Force Head Coach Michael Foley said while the first half included some of his side’s best rugby of the season, his side’s inability to continue that momentum through the second term was costly.
“We’ll learn from that,” he said. “For all of us there’s an overwhelming sense of disappointment because of how well we played in the first half and how well we controlled the game.
“To let that slip, you feel very disappointed.
“With experience definitely comes those lessons but it’s one of those games that you sit there and think about and wish you could play again.”
The Emirates Western Force started strongly on the back of retained possession and smart tactical kicking, helping provide an early penalty within kicking range to fullback Jayden Hayward.
The visitors struck back at the 23-minute mark when Keegan Daniel capitalised on 12 phases of sustained attack on the Force line when he found a gap in the defence out wide to help his side to an 7-3 lead.
The Force responded on the half-hour mark when possession was spun wide from a lineout with Hayward breaking the defensive line before offloading to Godwin, with the young centre wrong-footing the covering Lwazi Mvovo to score underneath the posts. Hayward’s successful conversion provided his side with a 10-3 lead at half-time.
Two Patrick Lambie penalties shortly after the break put the visitors back in front before Hayward landed a straightforward penalty to level the scores at 13-all.
However, when fullback Riaan Viljoen slid though two Force tackles it provided the decisive blow, with Lambie’s conversion and subsequent penalty goal putting the Sharks out to what would be an unassailable 10-point lead with five minutes remaining.
The Force threatened to steal the points in the finals minutes when scrumhalf Brett Sheehan appeared to have scored, only to have TMO Steve Leszczynski deny the home side for a previous knock on.