Super Rugby: Western Force see off Australian rivals in Brisbane
Last Updated: 05/04/14 1:11pm
The Western Force secured a fourth successive victory as Jayden Hayward's 78th-minute try edged out the Reds 32-29 in Brisbane.
Hayward's try, which he converted himself, settled a see-saw clash between the two Australian franchises, though the hosts would have rescued a draw had Quade Cooper's late drop goal attempt been on target.
Sias Ebersohn, who finished the match with 15 points, kicked four penalties to give the Force the early advantage, but, with Angus Cottrell in the sin bin, the Reds roared back through converted tries from Ben Tapuai and James Slipper.
Mike Harris' boot made sure the Reds led late on, only for Hayward to sneak over for the match-winning score.
The Force had steadily built up an early lead in the opening half, Ebersohn on target four times with penalties to make it 12-0 to the visitors after 20 minutes.
Cottrell's yellow card in the 23rd minute let the Reds back in, though, and a minute later Tapuai rounded off a move by touching down. Cooper successfully added the extras.
After 32 minutes the overlapping Slipper crossed for a second try, Cooper's conversion putting the Reds 14-12 in front.
However, the Force were soon on the front foot once back to full strength, stretching the Reds defence through 16 phases and Ben McCalman finishing the move off with a try.
Ebersohn missed the conversion and Cooper's penalty on the hooter made it 17-17 at the break.
Harris' penalty nudged the Reds in front early in the second half, but the Force responded as they went wide from a scrum and Luke Morahan touched down.
A further nine points from Harris, with Ebersohn replying with a drop goal, meant the Reds were 29-25 ahead with only minutes remaining on the clock.
They couldn't cling on, however, as Hayward powered through the tackles to claim the decisive score, adding the extras himself. Cooper's missed drop goal attempt on the hooter ended the Reds' hopes.