Super Rugby: Waratahs hang on to defeat Force in Sydney
Last Updated: March 31, 2013 9:05am
Adam Ashley-Cooper celebrated his 100th Super Rugby appearance with a try as the Waratahs defeated the Force 23-19 in Sydney.
Australia international Cooper - who previously played in the competition with the Brumbies - crossed in the 46th minute after a break from Israel Folau.
At one stage New South Wales found themselves in a 23-9 lead, only for the Force to rally cut the gap to four points. Their cause was aided by a try from full-back Alfie Mafi.
The rest of the points in a stop-start contest that was riddled with penalties came from kickers Brendan McKibbin and Sias Ebersohn.
Fly-half Ebershohn booted the visitors into a 6-0 advantage but the Waratahs warmed to their task as the first half went on, McKibbin responding with five penalties.
The scrum-half kicked three of them when the Force were down to 14 men, prop Salesi Ma'afu being sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau.
Although Ebersohn managed to reduce the gap to make it 15-9 at the break, Ashley-Cooper touched down to give the home team a comfortable cushion.
They needed it in the end, however, as the Force crossed themselves and then relied on Ebersohn's boot to get them within striking distance.
The Waratahs, though, were able to hang on in the final quarter, prop Benn Robinson, who was also celebrating a century of Super Rugby games, sealing victory with a turnover after the final hooter had sounded.