The Emirates Western Force have wrapped up their preparations for their FxPro Super Rugby return with a comfortable 42-0 win over a South Australian Rugby President’s XV at Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium tonight.
Following their three-week tournament lay-off courtesy of the inbound Test season, the Emirates Western Force returned to the pitch with a six-tries-to-nil win over a South Australian side featuring members from the Adelaide club competition and marquee representatives from Victoria, NSW, WA and the ACT.
While the visitors headed to the break with a commanding 28-0 lead, their second half momentum was stalled by a lack of possession and a raft of penalties against them before two late tries sealed the 42-point result.
Emirates Western Force Skills & Defence Coach Phil Blake was pleased with the performance and said the match achieved everything he had hoped for his side.
“Tonight was good for our combinations looking ahead to next week,” he said. “While the guys have been playing [club] football, they haven’t been playing it together. So being able to play 80 minutes together will hold them in good stead particularly after that second half defensive effort.
“We started very strong and controlled the ball and the game really well. After half time they had a lot of ball and territory and it wasn’t until the last 10 minutes that we got any sort of field position and were able to score a few late tries.”
In spite of the greasy conditions, the West Australians were off to a flying start with wingers Napolioni Nalaga and Nick Cummins each touching down within the first five minutes.
Hooker Nathan Charles extended the Emirates Western Force’s lead when he crashed over from the back of a rolling maul midway through the term before fullback Alfie Mafi crossed under the posts six minutes before half time.
Flyhalf Ben Seymour, who was amongst his side’s best, converted all four first-half tries before his replacement, David Harvey, added the final two conversions to complete his side’s perfect night with the boot.
While the Emirates Western Force dictated terms through the first period, the second stanza was a direct contrast with the President’s XV peppering the visitors’ line for the majority of the half.
The Emirates Western Force’s task was compounded when lock Toby Lynn fell afoul of the referee for repeat infringements on his side’s goal line, however, despite the continued pressure their defensive line remained intact.
After weathering the South Australian barrage, Cottesloe flanker Nick Haining capitalised on his side’s first taste of field position for the half when he dived over with seven minutes remaining, before Cummins shot through for his second touchdown of the night on the back of a pinpoint cut-out pass from scrumhalf Josh Holmes.
The Emirates Western Force will return to FxPro Super Rugby at nib Stadium on Saturday, 30 June for Nathan Sharpe’s home farewell against the Brumbies.
2012 Invitational Game
Friday, 22 June 2012 at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide
Kick-off: 6.45pm (ACST)
Emirates Western Force 42 (Tries: N Cummins 2; N Nalaga, N Charles, A Mafi, N Haining; Con: B Seymour 4/4, D Harvey 2/2)
South Australian Rugby President’s XV 0
Emirates Western Force: 1.Pek Cowan, 2.Nathan Charles, 3.Salesi Manu, 4.Phoenix Battye, 5.Toby Lynn, 6.Richard Brown, 7.Matt Hodgson (captain), 8.Lachlan McCaffery, 9.Josh Holmes, 10.Ben Seymour, 11.Napolioni Nalaga, 12.Rory Sidey, 13.Will Tupou, 14.Nick Cummins, 15. Alfie Mafi. Res: 16.Elvis Taione, 17.Tetera Faulkner, 18.Jake Ball, 19.Nick Haining, 20.Justin Turner, 21.David Harvey, 22.Winston Stanley
South Australian Rugby President’s XV: 1.Aaron Tawera, 2.Melbourne Lesa, 3.Karl Truijens, 4.Andrew Brown, 5.Tom Murday, 6.Pat Williams, 7.Gary Bautz, 8.Afa Amosa, 9.Tim Duchesne, 10.Jack Macklin, 11.Kery Dyer, 12.Arni Kane, 13.Pat Dellit, 14.Sam Wara, 15.Mark Jackman. Res: 16.Logan Brown, 17.Jim Gentle, 18.James Shearer, 19.Tim Mattin, 20.Rob Harlow, 21.Chris Batlett, 22.Luke Burton
Yellow Cards: Toby Lynn (47th min)
Red Cards: nil