Vikings show strength over Force
The Western Force has fallen short of a win over the Canberra Vikings despite keeping the ball in their possession for the majority of the match finishing 10 points behind.
Coach Tim Sampson said despite the 29-19 loss the Force showed a great amount of patience with ball in hand and put up a good challenge for the Vikings.
“Our set piece was really good and that put the opposition under a lot of pressure and we got rewards for that,” Sampson said.
The Force started the game strong but it was Canberra who opened the scoring with Andy Muirhead putting the ball down over the goal line.
Carrying strength and toughness in the scrum forced three penalties out of the Vikings before Chris Alcock burst through for the Force’s first try. Ian Prior’s successful conversion levelled out the scores to 7-7.
The home team were quick to answer as Jordan Jackson-Hope took back the lead with a long-range try followed up by a successful conversion.
The Vikings further extended their build up with a penalty goal giving them some space to breathe, but the Force was quick to narrow the lead with Henry Taefu spying an opening to crash over the line.
Prior kept up his good form to add extra points to the board and finished the match with the leading overall NRC conversion tally.
It wasn’t long till Rod Davies made some quality metres, breaking through to place a scrum right on the five-metre line.
A clever read by Brynard Stander pushed the Force back in the lead with a try just before half-time. Captain Prior extended the points to 17-19.
A highly contested and hard-fought second half saw few points go on the board with the Vikings defence working overtime to keep off numerous attacking attempts from the Force.
A smart cut out pass and some quick movements from the Vikings saw Muirhead dive over the corner for his second try.
He was joined shortly after with Brumbies player Wharenui Hawera touching the ball down for another try.
Despite not putting up any points in the second half, the Force led in runs and line-breaks and pushed through multiple attacking phases, keeping the Vikings defence on their toes throughout the match.