Lions lose Perth bore-a-thon
Perth - Australia's coach-less Western Force prevailed in the battle of the Super Rugby cellar-dwellers on Saturday, beating the Lions 17-11 to end a rotten losing run.
The match pitted two of the bottom three sides in the competition up against each other and their lowly standings were evident in a scrappy contest in Perth that featured very few highlights.
On a six-match losing streak, the Force got an early scare when they found themselves down 8-0 against a side with just seven wins from 71 previous matches outside their home country.
However, from there on the Force dominated possession and probably should have produced more points in notching their third win of the season, but they didn't have the finishing class to capitalise.
Force skipper David Pocock, who bullocked his way over for the first of his side's two tries, said the Force benefited from playing with more width after half-time, after going in at the break 8-3 down.
"Very happy with the win," he said. "They were very tough for the whole game, we had to spread the ball a bit and get them running."
Lions skipper Joshua Strauss said his team again failed to maintain its form for the entire match.
"Our discipline let us down in the second half, losing a man again near the end," he said.
"It is (a lack of) concentration and it has been like that all season."
The hosts, who have been in talks with former Ireland boss Eddie O'Sullivan over the vacant coach's post, were up against their former mentor in John Mitchell.
Mitchell would have been pleased with his side's best defensive effort of the season as they led at the break on the back of a Michael Killian try in the fourth minute.
However, the Force controlled the ball early in the second half and the Lions' defensive wall finally broke in the 58th minute, as Pocock piled over for a try.
Ben Seymour's conversion gave the home team a 10-8 lead, which was increased in the 71st minute when the Force capitalised on the Lions being a man down with Derick Minnie in the sin bin and added a second try.
Napolioni Nalaga, who had been an imposing figure for the Force all night, easily scored next to the posts and Seymour's conversion extended their lead to 17-8, all but ending the Lions' hopes.
The Force picked up four points for their victory, but stayed bottom of the Australian Conference and 13th in the Combined standings.
The Lions picked up a single point for losing by seven or fewer, but stayed wooden-spoonists in both the South African Conference and the Overall log.
In next weekend's Round 15 action, the Lions host the Sharks in Johannesburg while the Force enjoy a bye.
15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Will Tupou, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Ben Seymour, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock (captain), 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan
Substitutes: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Salesi Manu, 18 Phoenix Battye, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Josh Holmes, 22 David Harvey
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Franco van der Merwe, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 CJ van der Linde
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Cobus Grobbelaar, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Ruan Combrinck, 22 James Kamana