Force blast Reds in Perth
Defending champions crash to third straight defeat
Last Updated: 31/03/12 2:28pm
Nathan Sharpe: Scored one of the Force's five tries
Western Force handed Queensland Reds their third Super Rugby loss in a row with a convincing 45-19 victory in Perth on Saturday.
The Force set up their win with a first-half blitz that stunned the undermanned reigning champions, scoring 21 unanswered points before the Reds hit back with a try in the last play of the half at nib Stadium.
Despite greater effort by Queensland after the break, Richard Graham's men were too good, crossing the try-line three more times to win by 26 points.
James Stannard, Nathan Sharpe, Ben Seymour, Samu Wara and Matt Hodgson scored tries for the home side, with full-back Dave Harvey slotting four penalty goals and four conversions.
The Force flew out of the blocks and pushed the Reds back early, which led to a penalty goal from Harvey after just two minutes.
In the eighth minute a great run from Nick Cummins got the WA side close, before Brett Sheehan set up Stannard for a try. The Force's next two scores were penalties from Harvey before Sharpe barged over in the 33rd minute.
Down 21-0, the visitors hit back late in the half to give themselves some hope.
With the Force camped on their own line and the clock ticking down, Reds skipper James Horwill opted to keep the ball despite being offered shots at goal thanks to a string of penalties.
That positivity paid off when tighthead prop James Slipper scored his first Super Rugby try in the left corner, leaving the score at 21-5 at the break.
But the Force were again the better starters after the interval and just three minutes into the second half Sheehan charged down a kick to set up Seymour.
Queensland were stung and hit back again through Humphries in the 51st minute, but the Force weathered the storm in defence to wrap up the win.
With 10 minutes left, Seymour, who had come on for Stannard in the first half when he injured his ankle, drove a brilliant low kick across the field for a flying Wara to score.
And with the home crowd on their feet enjoying the Force's first home win of the season, a flowing move in the 75th minute was finished by Hodgson in the corner.
Dom Shipperley grabbed a consolation try for the reigning champions with the final play of the match.
The bonus-point win means the Force have 12 points and move off the bottom of the Australian Conference, with the Reds just a point ahead.