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Force end home drought despite Nabuli treble

By Peter Thompson
Reds wing Eto Nabuli and Western Force’s Chance Peni

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Western Force produced a second-half fightback to claim their first Super Rugby home win since May 2015 as an Eto Nabuli hat-trick could not prevent Reds from suffering a 26-19 defeat on Thursday.

Not since a defeat of Waratahs 22 months ago have Force come out on top at nib Stadium, but Chance Peni marked his home debut with a try and fellow code-switcher Curtis Rona scored his first in Super Rugby to bring the drought to an end.

David Wessels’ men were beaten by Waratahs in their first game of the season, but led after only two minutes in Perth when Peni burst through to score in the corner after some inventive work in midfield.

Reds made the trip west buoyed by a defeat of Sharks and they were on course to make it two wins out of two when Nabuli dived over out wide, before coming up with a superb solo effort to go under the posts straight from the kick-off.

Force took that burst on the chin and were level at half-time courtesy of Matt Philip’s converted try, but wing Nabuli raced onto a Duncan Paia’aua grubber to become only the second Reds player to claim a Super Rugby treble nine minutes after the break.

Two Ian Prior penalties left Force trailing by just a point and Rona was on hand to finish off a brisk move from left to right 11 minutes from time after Reds prop Sef Fa’agase was sin-binned for a no-arms tackle.

Prior was successful from the tee for a third time late on as Reds slipped to a nine consecutive away defeat.




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