Force find another gear to topple Samoa

The Western Force have been the dominant side in the 2019 Global Rapid Rugby Showcase and they took it up a notch with a 58 point victory over a gallant Kagifa Samoa side at HBF Park in Perth.

More than 12,400 fans turned out on a perfect night for rugby and they were treated to an action packed match that featured hard running, free scoring play, including an eye popping finale.

While there were plenty of highlights, the most spectacular came after the final hooter with what could very well be the try of the Showcase Series.

In what was otherwise a tough night for the Kagifa Samoa side, they left HBF Park with something positive to build on for next week, while not to mention, a piece of vision that will be replayed over and over and over again.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – MAY 31: Kalione Hala of Kagifa Samoa crosses for a try against AJ Alatimu of the Force during the Rapid Rugby match between Western Force and Kagifa Samoa at HBF Park on May 31, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

It started with skipper Leon Fukofuka putting through a clever kick but what happened next left everyone in awe.

With the ball about to bounce into touch Ah Mu Tuimalealiifano launched into the air, akin to Superman taking flight, and scooped it back into the waiting arms of Kalione Hala who timed his run perfectly. The hardworking fullback appeared as shocked as everyone else that the ball had come back into play, but he didn’t need a second invitation to pick it up off his bootlaces and put the finishing touch to a masterful piece of play.

That try aside, the night belonged to the Western Force who were clinical in their performance. The West Australian’s plundered nine tries, Issak Fines and Rod Davies each scoring a brace, and were joined by five other team mates.

It wasn’t as though Kagifa Samoa didn’t have enough of the ball, in fact, the visitors had 55% of possession and completed more runs in general play, however the defensive fortitude of the Western Force kept the pacific islanders at bay.

Fines in particular was in superb touch for the Force and has elevated his game to another level since being handed the responsibility of guiding the team around the park from the opening whistle following a long term injury to skipper Ian Prior.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – MAY 31: Issak Fines-Leleiwasa of the Force runs the ball during the Rapid Rugby match between Western Force and Kagifa Samoa at HBF Park on May 31, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

His first try came just before the half time break and was the result of outstanding vision and quick decision making as he scooped a loose ball off the turf and slipped through a gap to catch the defence unawares.

With Clay Uyen and Johan Bardoul also chipping in with tries in the first half the Western Force took a handy 21 – 0 lead into the break.

It took almost 8 minutes after the restart for the scoreboard to starting ticking over again, Fines involved once more, this time as the finisher to a great piece of build up play involving Chris Alcock and Masivesi Dakuwaqa.

Another period of back and forth ensued before the final 20 minutes turned into a scoring avalanche with six tries, five of them to the Western Force, scored in that period.

Fergus Lee Warner was one of the players to cross for the Force and he would have been happy to make up for an indiscretion in the opening half that saw him and Kagifa Samoa prop Sam Aiono yellow carded.

Fellow forwards Henry Stowers and Tevin Ferris joined in on the action, while the Force backs were well serviced by speedster Rod Davies who scored the first of his two tries only minutes after coming onto the ground as a second half substitute.

With the result beyond doubt it would have been easy for Kagifa Samoa to just let the game peter out after the final hooter went, however the players proved they have plenty of pride in the jersey and delivered a climax that not many will forget in a hurry.

View the Global Rapid Rugby Pacific Showcase Ladder

Kagifa Samoa get their chance turn that spectacular ending into a win when they meet Fijian Latui in New Zealand on Friday, 7 June 2019 at Navigation Homes Stadium.


Western Force

Starting XV: 1.Harrison LLOYD, 2.Heath TESSMANN, 3.Tom SHEMINANT, 4.Johan BARDOUL, 5.Fergus LEE WARNER, 6.Henry STOWERS, 7.Chris ALCOCK, 8.Tevin FERRIS, 9.Issak FINES, 10.AJ ALATIMU, 11.Clay UYEN, 12.Henry TAEFU, 13.Marcel BRACHE (C), 14.Masivesi DAKUWAQA, 15.Jack MCGREGOR

Reserves: 16.Feleti KAITU’U, 17.Markus VANZATI, 18.Kieran LONGBOTTOM, 19.Leon POWER, 20.Brynard STANDER, 21.Rory O’SULLIVAN, 22.Andrew DEEGAN, 23.Rod DAVIES

Kagifa Samoa

1.Misioka TIMOTEO, 2.Frank MALU, 3.Ausetalia VAIOMANU, 4.Michael MCKEE, 5.Callum ADAMS, 6.Dylan LAM, 7.Caleb FAALILI, 8.Otenili MOALA, 9.Leon FUKOFUKA (C), 10.Latiume FOSITA, 11.David FELIUAI, 12. Pakisonasi AFU, 13.Tino MAFOE, 14.Ah Mu TUIMALEALIIFANO, 15.Kalione HALA

Reserves: 16.Gafatasi SU’A, 17.Mark ROYAL, 18.Samuel AIONO, 19.Sione TUIPULOTU, 20.Laga FASAVALU, 21.JP SAUNI, 22.Maui HAUSIA, 23.Tim SIPPEL

Match officials

Referee: Graham Cooper, AR1: Mark Sheriff, AR2: Tyler Miller, TMO: Alex Ninkov

First Half

 9:31C.Uyen (WF)TryForce by 55 – 0
 10:50A.Alatimu (WF)ConversionForce by 77 – 0
 25:17J.Bardoul (WF)TryForce by 1212 – 0
 26:15A.Alatimu (WF)ConversionForce by 1414 – 0
 32:05I.Fines (WF)TryForce by 1919 – 0
 32:19A.Alatimu (WF)ConversionForce by 2121 – 0

Second Half

 7:18I.Fines (WF)TryForce by 2626 – 0
 8:46A.Alatimu (WF)ConversionForce by 2828 – 0
 16:04H.Stowers (WF)TryForce by 3333 – 0
 17:21A.Deegan (WF)ConversionForce by 3535 – 0
 20:13F.Lee Warner (WF)TryForce by 4040 – 0
 21:30A.Deegan (WF)ConversionForce by 4242 – 0
 22:27R.Davies (WF)TryForce by 4747 – 0
 23:58A.Deegan (WF)ConversionForce by 4949 – 0
 26:24T.Ferris (WF)TryForce by 5454 – 0
 27:48A.Deegan (WF)ConversionForce by 5656 – 0
 29:10R.Davies (WF)TryForce by 6161 – 0
 30:43A.Deegan (WF)ConversionForce by 6363 – 0
 36:54K.Hala (KS)TryForce by 5863 – 5

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