Many loyal Emirates Western Force fans were shocked to watch their team go down 22-10 to Super Rugby new boys South African side the Kings in Port Elizabeth, and it was undoubtedly disappointing, as many would have tipped them to have the superior experience to win.
The Force recovered well after going behind to an opportunist try from teenager Sergeal Petersen and went in at half time with a 10-7 lead. What will be a concern is how in the second half they conceded 17 unanswered points, which resulted in the loss.
The Kings reduced the deficit through the boot of flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis with two penalty goals and then as it had against the Rebels the week before, the Force’s task was made harder when they received a yellow card. Hugh McMeniman sitting out ten minutes for a high tackle. Sergeal Petersen made the Force pay dotting down for a second try while the force were a man down.
As they did in their opening game the Force did well to starve the opposition of possession, and were rewarded with the lead. Ill discipline, however has been their undoing, three yellow cards in 160 minutes of rugby has cost them dearly. It has given their opponents in both games the momentum, and with a passionate South African crowd behind them the Kings stormed home. An impressive victory in their first Super Rugby game.
The Force will have a tough game this week at Loftus Versfeld against the Bulls, and cannot afford to concede kickable penalties or they will find Morne Steyn has kicked the game away from them. However the Bulls are beatable early in the season and a disciplined game could produce an upset.
The club could certainly do with one as they do not want to be three games and no wins after this weekend with a bye the following week. They are then on the road for their fourth game in a row before facing the Cheetahs at home in a brand new NIB stadium. A few wins will help boost the crowd numbers for that game and create a great atmosphere.
The team needs a win of that there is no doubt and it would appear that a win will give them the impetus to kick on and have a competitive season. The sooner that win the comes the better for all, but what ever happens don’t lose faith Michael Foley is building a team that can compete with the best.