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Brumbies overcome poor first-half to beat Western Force in Canberra

Tom Wright of the Brumbies is tackled during the round three Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and Western Force at , on March 09, 2024, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

The ACT Brumbies have overcome a poor first half and a 14-point deficit to beat the Western Force at Canberra’s GIO Stadium.


In their round-three Super Rugby Pacific clash on Saturday, the Brumbies flirted with rare back-to-back defeats before finding 22 straight points to set up their narrow 22-19 victory.

Force winger Harry Potter scored five minutes from time to set up a thrilling finish, but desperate ACT defence saw them cling on.

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Five-eighth Ben Donaldson couldn’t get the job done off the kicking tee, missing a vital penalty goal and a conversion attempt in the final 15 minutes to help his opponents hang on.


The below-par Brumbies performance kept the struggling Force in the contest, but they threw away a handy lead for a second week running.

After conceding 29 straight points last weekend to lose 48-34 to Melbourne, the Perth-based side led 14-0 in Canberra, but were then brushed aside.

The win steadied the Brumbies’ campaign at 2-1, moving forward well from a 46-12 thrashing at the hands of the Chiefs.


Local fans expected a bounce-back performance after the Brumbies’ worst defensive performance in seven years last weekend against the Chiefs, but they looked uninspired and clunky throughout the first half.

That allowed the Force to skip 14-0 clear behind 20 minutes of simple rugby, with winger Hamish Stewart and flanker Michael Wells finding the line.

The typically clinical Brumbies looked a shell of their usual selves in a sloppy opening quarter-hour, completing just one of their first four lineouts while getting busted up in contact.

Stewart crossed to cap a move Donaldson started with power running, before Wells bruised his way over from close range.


A rare moment of ACT attacking flair from centre Tamati Tua got his side on the board on the half-hour, with halfback Ryan Lonergan the beneficiary of a nice link-up.

A Noah Lolesio penalty got them back within a converted try at 14-8.

The Force had looked to skip 21-8 clear on the stroke of halftime but had winger Potter’s try called back for an obstruction on ACT lock Darcy Swain, in a massive let-off for the home side.

Potter copped a yellow card less than a minute into the second half for taking out Swain contesting a high ball, and the Brumbies cashed in, grabbing the lead through No.8 Rob Valetini.

Bench hooker Billy Pollard then drove his way over the line on 55 minutes to extend the advantage.

Discipline was a huge problem for the Force, conceding a whopping 15 penalties to the Brumbies’ four.


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