Waratahs stand tall in west
The NSW Waratahs survived a fightback from the Western Force to stay in the hunt for the Super Rugby finals. Photo: Getty Images
Join RugbyHeaven editor Stephen Samuelson as the Waratahs attempt to keep their unbeaten record intact in Perth.
Post game: An excellent win for the Waratahs even if it was a somewhat flawed performance. They have three wins from seven games but what should not be underestimated is the number of bouns points they have. More than any other team in the Australian conference and second only to the Sharks.
The Force responded well in the second-half but skipper David Pocock is despondent. Benn Robinson looks knackered in the post-match interview. Robinson says it was a good all-round effort, the kicking was good and the forwards performed strongly - he is not wrong there.
It's still my opinion that Adam Ashley-Cooper is wasted on the wing and does not get his hands on the ball anywhere near enough. He is the class act in the backline.
80th min + 2: Massive scrum by the Waratahs. They destroyed the Force and Glen Jackson awards the penalty and the ball is booted into touch. Tahs win.
80th min + 1: Th scrum has wheeled and referee Glen Jackson says it is now a Force feed. Big call.
80th min: Has Bernard Foley saved the day for the Waratahs? A big hit on the Honey Badger forces the knock-on. The siren has gone but the scrum has to pack.
79th min: Knock-on by the Force sees the Waratahs in possession and Barnes kicks it out. Line-out 35 metres out.
77th min: Is this the last throw of the dice for the Force. An attacking line-out 22 metres out.
73rd min: The Waratahs have gone through 16 phases and go so close to scoring but Glen Jackson gives the penalty for a high tackle on Adam Ashley-Cooper some eight or phases beforehand. If it was not for foul play then Jackson may have called advantage over. Barnes puts the Tahs five in front. FORCE 18 WARATAHS 23.
69th min: Tahs put on a powerful rolling maul and two poor kicks by both side sees the Waratahs back in poseesion and getting a kicakble penalty. Barnes steps up with the kicking tee. He narrowly misses.
68th min: Foley is back on, so it is 15 v 15.
66th min: Tahs going nowhere so Barnes kicks down field.
64th min: The Waratahs get the penalty straight from the re-start after Adam Ashley-Cooper leaps above Nathan Sharpe. The Force were pinged at the breakdown. Berrick Barnes winds down the clock before the he boots the Tahs back into the lead. FORCE 18 WARATAHS 20.
63rd min: Toby Lynn drops the ball with line wide open but Glen Jackson was playing advantage. Dave Harvey all set to put the Force in front, which he does. FORCE 18 WARATAHS 17.
62nd min: The Honey Badger strikes again. He strips Benn Robinson of possession and the Force are just five metres out.
60th min: Sarel Pretorius is on for McKibbin.
59th min: TRY! Former Waratah Alfie Mafi scores on the right flank after some good play by Brett Sheehan and the Honey Badger. Game on. Harvey kicks it. FORCE 15 WARATAHS 17.
58th min: Sharpe wins the lineout and Thats are penalsied again. The Force are just inches out.
56th min: The crowd is screaming as the Force get oh so close, but the Waratahs infringe and Bernard Foley is sent to the sin bin. Nervous times for the Waratahs.
55th min: A brilliant straight line chase by the Force nullifies a Waratah counter-attack and a poor kick by Barnes sees the Force with good field position.
53rd min: But the Tahs only have the ball for two phases until the turnover is forced.
52nd min: Poor play by Winston Stanely. He kicks out on the full and the Tahs have the lineout 25 metres out. Alcock wins it at the back.
52nd min: Dave Harvey misses a relatively easy conversion. Crucial miss.
51st min: Sheehan dives for the line and Glen Jackson seeks the advice of the TMO. The replay suggests it is a try and Glen Jackson awards it. FORCE 8 WARATAHS 17.
50th min: Fercocious contact at the breakdwon and Brett Sheehan is brought down just inches short, as is Sharpe, as is Pocock. Advantage being played for the Force.
48th min: And another penalty to the Force, this time it was offside at the breakdown. They eschew the three points and try to get five as Dave Harvey kicks for the corner. Perhaps a concession that penalty goals will not win them this game.
46th min: Force getting a couple of penalties. Rob Hornes does an involuntary falcon but referee Glen Jackson says he was offside and now the Force have the attacking lineout 25 metres out.
42nd min: TRY! Too easy for the Waratahs. A lineout move sees Dave Dennis sweep around the front and he sprints 25 metres and crashes over. McKibbin converts. FORCE 3 WARATAHS 17.
41st min: Soft turnover by Palu puts the Force on the attack but Hodgson then pinged for not releasing so the Tahs will kick for touch and be on the attack. Remember the Force are down to 14 men.
40th min: A free kick to the Force settles the matter for the first half.
40th min: A knock-on by Dean Mumm saves the Force. There will be time for the scrum which could spell trouble for the Force despite having the feed.
39th min: The Force being driven back again but Wycliff Palu is no Lionel Messi and poor fottwork at the back of the scrum sees the ball pop out when it looked like the Tahs were going to score. Minor relief for the Force with Tahs winning the line out 15 metres out.
38th min: Real dominance at the scrum. The Force is driven back and the scrum collapses. It is a penalty and Salesi Ma'afu has a yellow card. Force under real pressure.
37th min: After an eternity the scrum is set but the Force concede the penalty for collapsing and there will be another scrum.
35th min: But they don't go for penalty goal and McKibbin goes for the quick tap and the TMO is called into action. No try. McKibbin is short but the Tahs have the feed five metres out. The Force were unlucky because there was a hint of a knock-on.
34th min: More great play from the Tahs. Rob Hornes stood up the honey badegr abd from the next phase McKibbin puts Palu through an enormous hole. He is dragged down and after several attacking phases, McKibbin loses the ball but referee Glen Jackson was playing advantage and the Tahs have an easy shot at penalty goal.
32nd min: More ill-discipline at the breakdown gives Shepherd the chance to clear the ball from Force territory but he fails to find touch. A kicking duel ensues but Dave Harvey boots one too long and the Tahs have an attacking lineout.
29th min: Penalty to the Force. The tahs could not get out of the territory following the re-start and eventually a Waratah gets pinged at the breakdown. Harvey kicks the penalty. FORCE 3 WARATAHS 10. A bit more noise from the crowd.
26th min: TRY! Kingston scores. Great counter-attack. The Force spill the ball 25m out for the Tahs;'s line. Bernard Foley breaks the line and offloads to Tom Carter who finds Tom Kingston to score. McKibbin kicks from the sideline and is greeted by total silence. FORCE 0 WARATAHS 10
23rd min: Dave Harvey enjoys playing the Tahs. A smart kick into the corner was followed by a near half break. The Tahs force the turnover and Barnes kick for space. Pressure relieved.
22nd min: Boisterous support for the Force. The home side repeat the dose from Sydney a month ago and attack the Tahs on the fringes. Sharpe again strong in that phase of play.
18th min: The Waratahs have dominated the penalty count so far this game. McKibbin missed just his second shot this season. Apologies for the late start, you will be more annoyed to know that it was the mungo game that delayed my appearance.
Late change for Force: Force have benched their 10 Ben Seymour and moved Dave Harvey there. Alfie Mafi's moved to fullback and Cameron Shepherd's moved to the left wing.
Last meeting: Round 4 2012 - Force 21 bt Waratahs 20 in Sydney
Head-to-head: Played 8 Force 2 Waratahs 5 Drawn 1
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZL)
TV: Live, FoxSports 3
TAB Sportsbet: Force $2.25 Waratahs $1.60
Greg Growden writes: Waratahs centre Tom Carter said it straight when he said this match was like a final ... do or die stuff. And it is. The Waratahs can't afford another loss if they want to make the finals, and the only way they can avoid that is to take the Force forwards head on.
AAP writes: NSW fans booed their team off the park back in round four when the Waratahs lost to the Force by a single point. Waratahs players are still stinging from that loss, and will be aiming to dish up a bit of payback when they travel to Perth. Western Force coach Richard Graham has described this match as an eight-point encounter, and it's easy to see why considering the tight nature of the Australian conference. Both sides are banking on continuity to get them over the line, with the Waratahs naming an unchanged squad and the Force making just one injury-forced change to their starting line-up.
FORCE: David Harvey, Rory Sidey, Nick Cummins, Winston Stanley, Alfie Mafi, Ben Seymour, Brett Sheehan, Matt Hodgson, David Pocock (c), Richard Brown, Nathan Sharpe, Toby Lynn, Salesi Ma'afu, Nathan Charles, Pek Cowan. Reserves: Elvis Taione, Kieran Longbottom, Phoenix Battye, Ben McCalman, Josh Holmes, Cameron Shepherd, Patrick Dellit.
WARATAHS: Bernard Foley, Tom Kingston, Rob Horne, Tom Carter, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Brendan McKibbin, Wycliff Palu, Chris Alcock, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Dean Mumm, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson (c). Reserves: John Ulugia, Paddy Ryan, Sitaleki Timani, Lopeti Timani, Jono Jenkins, Sarel Pretorius, Daniel Halangahu.