Bryce Hegarty kicked the winning penalty after the fulltime siren to give the 13 man Western Force a remarkable 21-18 win over the Moana Pasifika in Perth on Saturday.
Ollie Callan was red carded in the 73rd minute and Siosifa Amone was handed a yellow in the 76th in what could have been crushing blows to the home team’s hopes.
But with scores level, the gutsy Force were able to win two late penalties – the first of which Hegarty missed from long range in the 79th minutes.
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But the veteran then landed a much simpler attempt after the Force had won a scrum penalty – as new coach Simon Cron celebrated with some vigorous first pumping.
The now 1-2 Force had been humiliated 71-20 by the Queensland Reds last weekend.
“I don’t think they’ll believe it,” Morgan Turinui said on Stan Sport’s coverage.
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Force stunned by early Moana onslaught
“That’s an incredible effort,” added Wallabies assistant coach Dan McKellar.
The teams scored two tries apiece at HBF Park.
“It is significant, because sometimes winning ugly is about winning,” Cron said.
“The fight the boys showed was really positive. The area they will find hard to watch is the opportunities we did create and then gave them the ball back.”
On the flipside it was heartbreak for Moana, who led for most of the match and remain winless in 2023.
“It’s one we let slip,” Moana coach Aaron Mauger said.
“We’ve got to be better in those moments. We couldn’t execute our basics. It’s hard to play when you’re not catching the ball.”
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