Force end losing run
Rock-bottom Lions beaten in Perth
Last Updated: 26/05/12 4:18pm
The Western Force finally earned their first win of the post-Richard Graham era, edging out the Lions 17-11 in Perth.
The Force had lost six in a row, four of which had come since former coach Graham was sacked and replaced by Phil Blake, but did enough to squeeze past the bottom side at NIB Stadium.
The Lions led for nearly an hour after Michael Killian's fourth-minute try, but late five-pointers from man-of-the-match David Pocock and Napolioni Nalaga were enough to get the Force home.
Ben Seymour also played his part with two conversions and a penalty goal, helping the Force to their third win of the season from a game where they dominated possession but were sloppy at times in attack.
Victory was enough to all but ensure the Perth side will avoid finishing with their second wooden spoon from just seven years in Super Rugby, as the Force, on 23 points, now have a decent buffer over the Blues, who have 17, and Lions, on 15, and will be aided by next week's bye.
Defeat was further soured for the South African side by Jaco Taute's apparent dislocated shoulder in the first half, while powerful prop CJ van der Linde also could face a stint on the sidelines as a white card - which opens the door for a citing - was shown after he clearly bit Toby Lynn's arm.
The game started badly for the Force as Seymour's clearing kick was partially charged down, giving the Lions excellent field position and allowing them to work it out wide for Killian to score the opening try.
Seymour's dismal start continued when he missed a simple penalty goal after the visitors made it 8-0 through the boot of Elton Jantjies, but the Force fly-half got another chance soon after and had no issues that time.
The hosts improved as the half went on but could not make their pressure count, with Lynn knocking on just short of the line to ruin their best scoring opportunity of the opening period.
The second half started similarly to the way the first finished but the Force could not be denied with 22 minutes to go when Pocock drove them across the line after a long build-up of pressure.
The Lions struggled to get their hands on the ball after going behind, a problem made worse by Derick Minnie's 68th-minute sin-binning, and the pressure became too much as Nalaga's try wrapped up the win.
Ruan Combrinck slotted a penalty after the siren to earn the Lions a bonus point.