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Super Rugby: Brumbies forced to settled for third after being outrun in Perth
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Western Force ran in three tries as they registered a shock 21-15 victory to thwart the Brumbies in Perth on Saturday.
First half tries from Matt Hodgson and Ben McCalman combined with a second half strike from Junior Rasolea sealed a stunning win, as the Brumbies were forced to settle for third place in the Super Rugby standings.
It was the Force who were quickest out of the blocks as they dominated the early exchanges, pinning the Brumbies in their own half with 76% territory.
Ill-discipline from the Brumbies gifted the Force a tap-and-go opportunity, a move which culminated with captain Hodgson crossing to register the first points on the board midway through the opening period. After missing a penalty moments earlier, Force full-back Jayden Hayward recovered to add the extras.
The Brumbies lone score of the first period came through the trusty boot of Christian Leali'ifano as he dissected the uprights as the visitors struggled to hold possession.
Michael Foley's Force side continued to press on and almost doubled their tally when Sam Wykes came close before number eight McCalman pushed his way over the line as the hosts entered the interval 14-3 leaders.
The Force continued to punish an uncharacteristically clumsy Brumbies performance after the break, as Nick Cummins found his way through the defence before releasing Rasolea, who raced away to score a third Force try to extend the hosts lead to 21-3.
As the second half progressed the Brumbies found rhythm and broke through the Force back line with some swift cross-field passing finding Tevita Kuridrani, who crossed in their first try of the evening before Leali'ifano added two more points from the tee.
The introduction of veteran Wallaby George Smith bolstered the Brumbies comeback as the forward opted for a quick tap before an inch-perfect pass found Scott Fardy, with the second row powering over the line to reduce the deficit to six points.
With the siren fast approaching the Brumbies were presented with opportunities but failed to seize the initiative and persisted in conceding unnecessary penalties as the Force closed out the victory.
Foley's Force entered the clash with just pride to play for, but defeat for the Brumbies means they must settle for third in the final Super Rugby standings.
Failure to leapfrog the Bulls, who face the Stormers later, means the Brumbies will now have to take on the Cheetahs in a play-off quarter final next weekend.