Final buzzer heartbreak for Western Force in the most dramatic of fashions
The Chiefs skipped out to a 20-7 lead in the 57th minute of Saturday night’s match after producing a two-try burst following a yellow card to Force winger Jordan Olowofela.
But the match took a dramatic twist when Chiefs No.8 Luke Jacobson was red carded in the 66th minute for his second bookable offence of the match.
Force winger Richard Kahui crossed in the 68th minute to close the margin to six points, and the gap was just one when Miotti scored after the final siren.
It meant Miotti could win the game with his conversion attempt – but he hooked his kick.
The finish was eerily similar to the Crusaders’ 31-29 win over the Brumbies earlier in the day, in which Brumbies flyhalf Noah Lolesio missed a conversion attempt on the final siren to cost his side a draw.
The pulsating victory for the Chiefs meant all five of New Zealand’s sides posted wins in week one of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition.
Chiefs centre Anton Lienert-Brown thought he opened the scoring in the fifth minute, but the try was disallowed after the TMO spotted a knock-on from scrumhalf Brad Weber.
The reprieve didn’t last long for the Force, who lost their own scrum soon after in a piece of play that resulted in a try for Chiefs centre Alex Nankivell.
Scrum issues continued to plague the Force, and they were forced to defend grimly for long periods of the opening half.
The home team received a double slice of luck when Lienert-Brown and Jacobson were sin binned within two minutes of each other.
The Force were awarded a penalty try in between the two yellow cards to level the scores, but the Crusaders took a 10-7 lead into halftime when they slotted a late penalty despite being down to 13 men.
The Crusaders held fir m early in the second half while still down to 13 men , and the Force went down a man in the 53rd minute when Olowofela was sin-binned for a cynical knockdown.
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Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris and winger Jonah Lowe crossed over for tries within minutes of Olowofela’s exit to stretch the lead to 20-7, with McKenzie failing to nail the conversion on both occasions.
The Force were given a glimmer of hope in the 66th minute when Jacobson, who had been back on the field for less than 20 minutes following his first yellow card, was shown a red card for interfering at the breakdown.
That glimmer of hope became a realistic victory shot when the Force swung the ball wide to the left for Kahui to cross over.
The home fans were in ecstasy when Miotti crossed at the death to set up a match-winning conversion attempt, but the kick was wide of the target.
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