Sydney - Adam Ashley-Cooper celebrated his
100th Super Rugby game with a try that helped the Waratahs to a 23-19 win over the Force in a turgid encounter here on Sunday.
The versatile Cooper, who had made 78
appearances for the Canberra-based Brumbies before moving to Sydney in 2012, scored in the 46th minute of the match which was a
stop-start affair with neither side able to develop any continuity.
teams were also heavily penalised, particularly at the breakdown, by
referee Steve Walsh, which lead to Waratahs scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin
slotting six penalties, while Force flyhalf Sias Ebersohn kicked four.
was tough, we made it hard on ourselves," Waratahs captain Dave Dennis
said in a pitchside interview. "We didn't perform how we wanted to in
"There wasn't a lot between us ... but we have got the points and it worked out well."
Force actually started with purpose, stringing phases together and
driving down the field to go out to a 6-0 lead courtesy of two penalties
The Waratahs, however, slowly built back into the
game with McKibbin slotting two penalties as the home side began to
throw the ball wider and build phases themselves.
Salesi Ma'afu was then sin-binned for a high tackle on Waratahs hooker
Tatafu Polota-Nau about 20 minutes into the first half, which allowed
McKibbin to slot three more penalties.
Ebersohn managed to reduce the gap just before the break to go into half-time trailing 15-9.
slotted his fourth penalty of the game just a minute after the restart
before Ashley-Cooper finished off a break from Israel Folau to give the
home side a seemingly-comfortable 23-9 lead.
Force fullback Alfie
Mafi, however, dragged his side back into the game when the Perth-based
side managed to string more than three phases together and Ebersohn
converted and added his fourth penalty to make the last 20 minutes
Waratahs prop Benn Robinson, who was also celebrating his
100th Super Rugby game, however fittingly provided the coup de grace
when he snaffled the ball at a turnover after the full-time hooter
sounded and the Waratahs kicked the ball into touch. Scorers:
Brendan McKibbin (6)Force:
Try: Alifeleti Mafi
Conversion: Sias Ebersohn
Penalties: Ebersohn (4)
15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Adam
Ashley-Cooper, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Bernard Foley, 9
Brendan McKibbin, 8 Pat McCutcheon, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis
(captain), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John
Ulugia, 1 Benn Robinson
Substitutes: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17
Sekope Kepu, 18 Mitchell Chapman, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Matt Lucas, 21 Ben
Volavola, 22 Tom KingstonForce:
Alifeleti (Alfi) Mafi, 14. Patrick Dellit, 13. Winston Stanley, 12. Kyle
Godwin, 11. Junior Rasolea, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8. Richard
Brown, 7. Matthew Hodgson (captain), 6. Ben McCalman, 5. Hugh McMeniman, 4.
Toby Lynn, 3. Salesi Ma'afu, 2. Heath Tessmann, 1. Pekahou Cowan
Substitutes: 16. Ben Whittaker, 17. Kieran
Longbottom, 18. Sam Wykes, 19. Chris Alcock, 20. Chris Eaton, 21. Sam Christie,
22. Sam Norton-Knight