Vodacom Super Rugby
Force sink hapless Brumbies
David Smith (Gallo Images)
Canberra - Western Force winger David Smith scored with two minutes remaining to give his side a 27-19 win over the Brumbies in their Super Rugby match.
With the Force leading by a solitary point and the clock ticking down, Smith burst onto a short ball from flyhalf Willie Ripia to touch down under the posts and make the game safe for the West Australians.
The win was the Force's first on Australian soil this season and kept alive their faint hopes of making the Super Rugby play-offs, while it continued a miserable run for the former champions.
"You can toil away all year and sometimes things don't go your way but I think tonight, on the back of a rusty first half, we came back," Force captain Nathan Sharpe said.
"I'm hoping it's a sign of better things to come."
For much of the first half it looked as if the Brumbies would canter away to a comfortable win as as they dominated in every department.
However, they found it hard to breach the Force defensive line, their only points coming from the boot of Matt Giteau in the opening minutes.
They had to wait until the 25th minute for their first try, with Christian Lealiifano ghosting through the Force backline and finding an unmarked Giteau in support.
The home side continued to pile on the pressure, but just before halftime and with the Brumbies deep in attack, Force centre Rory Sidey pounced on a loose ball and toed ahead.
The Brumbies looked to be getting back to cover but James O'Connor came from nowhere to outpace the defenders and close the gap to 10-7 at the break.
That quickly became 13-7 with a Giteau penalty after the restart, but the Force seized on another Brumbies mistake from the kick off and Smith crossed in the corner for his first try for the club.
O'Connor converted to give the visitors a 14-13 lead, with the momentum swingly firmly to the Force.
Giteau and O'Connor traded penalties before Giteau put the Brumbies back in front with his fourth penalty 15 minutes from time.
But O'Connor kicked his second penalty almost immediately to give the advantage back to the Force.
The game was there for the taking and the Force seized their chance when Smith loomed up on Rimia's shoulder and burst through Lealiifano's attempted tackle to score under the posts.
"We had our chances, we had a thousand line-outs but we just couldn't get the ball," Giteau said.
"You can't win a game like that."