You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Force edge Kings in 12-try thriller

NZN 9/04/2017 Justin Chadwick

Western Force coach Dave Wessels says he is proud of his players after they cast aside the uncertainty of their future to post a 46-41 win over the Kings in a 12-try thriller at nib Stadium on Sunday.

Both the Force and Kings entered the match facing the very real prospect of soon being cut from next year's competition.

It was then announced following the fixture that one team from Australia and two teams from South Africa will be axed ahead of a reduced 15-franchise competition next season.

The Kings and Cheetahs appear to be the South African teams on the chopping block, while the Force and Rebels are locked in a battle for survival in the Australian conference.

A crowd of 8474 turned out for Sunday's contest in Perth, with some fans displaying 'Save the Force' banners and posters.

Kings fullback Malcolm Jaer scored a hat-trick, but the Force overcame a 13-point deficit with just 15 minutes remaining to secure the five-point win.

"It's s really special group of boys in there," Wessels said.

"Wins like today are important, because they build character.

"It shows that even when the chips are down, if you stick to the plan and stick together, you can get some pretty good outcomes."

The two teams played the exact style of rugby that fans love - fast and attacking and with plenty of spectacular running tries.

Force winger Alex Newsome scored a double to underline his credentials as a star in the making.

Newsome's second try was particularly special, with the 22-year-old smothering a kick, soccering the ball and then beating an opponent to touch down.

But the most spectacular moment of the match belonged to Kings flyhalf Lionel Cronje.

Cronje did his best Harlem Globetrotter impersonation by manoeuvring the ball 360 degrees around his body to confuse the Force defence, before dribbling a perfect ball for Jaer to collect for his third try.

That try gave the Kings a 38-25 edge with just 15 minutes to play, but the Force fought back through Newsome's second try, and then hit the lead in the 72nd minute courtesy of a penalty try following a dominant scrum.

Kings coach Deon Davids said South African rugby would be weaker if his Port Elizabeth-based franchise was cut.

"If you look at the franchise as a whole, I think the future of South African rugby lies in the Eastern Cape," Davids said.

"There's some good schools. The academy has produced some excellent players in the past few years.

"If you look at these players, if they can play together in a high performance structure for three to five years, we will be able to produce a lot of players."

Star Force winger Chance Peni appears set for a stint on the sidelines after suffering a groin injury.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon