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Fijian Drua handed crushing defeat care of Wallaby's materclass

By AAP
Selestino Ravutaumada of Fijian Drua looks on during the round 12 Super Rugby Pacific match between Western Force and Fijian Drua at HBF Park, on May 11, 2024, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Western Force flyhalf Ben Donaldson has scored 23 points on the back of a perfect kicking display to lift his side to a crushing 48-10 win over Fijian Drua in Perth.

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The Force entered Saturday night’s Super Rugby Pacific match at HBF Park in last place and knowing a loss would effectively end their finals hopes. 

But spurred on by a star showing from former Wallaby Kurtley Beale and a perfect eight-out-of-eight kicking display from Donaldson, the Force romped to their third win of the season. 

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The six-tries-to-one win lifted the Force (3-8) from last spot into ninth, leaving them just two points adrift of the eighth-placed Drua with three rounds remaining.

The Force finish their regular season with games against the struggling Waratahs (home), fifth-placed Reds (away) and third-placed Brumbies (home), with two more wins potentially enough to secure a finals berth. 

The Force made a blistering start to the match, touching down for a try after just 54 seconds.

Fixture
Super Rugby Pacific
Force
48 - 10
Full-time
Fijian Drua
All Stats and Data

Captain Jeremy Williams set up the try with a 30m break, with winger Chase Tiatia providing the finishing touch with a dive in the corner.

The scoreline read 14-0 in the 14th minute when flanker Carlo Tizzano finished off a sweet line-out move with a quick pick-and-go near the line. 

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Donaldson nailed his third kick of the match to make it 17-0 in the 20th minute, with Fijian Drua’s only points of the half coming via a 38th-minute penalty. 

Force half-back Nic White had to get his finger put back into place at halftime, and the home side were under the pump early in the second half. 

Drua winger Selestino Ravutaumada produced an acrobatic dive in the corner in the 45th minute to reduce the margin to seven points. 

A yellow card to White in the 51st minute heaped further pressure on the Force, and the Fijians almost had another try a minute later – only for winger Taniela Rakuro to fumble the dribbling ball.

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Force inside centre Hamish Stewart produced two pieces of magic to help turn the tide.

First, Stewart launched a successful counter-ruck to win back possession. In the next piece of play, he gained several vital metres to put the Force within touching distance of a try, with Michael Wells doing the rest to make it 24-10.

Lopeti Faifua put the Force in bonus-point territory when he combined with No.8 Reed Prinsep for the team’s fourth try of the night. 

A slick Beale pass set up Bayley Kuenzle for a 72nd-minute try, before Donaldson produced the icing on the cake with a 50m run to the line in the dying minutes.

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