WESTERN FORCE 45 QUEENSLAND REDS 19
Big night ... Nathan Sharpe got the better of Wallabies teammate and friend Ben Horwill. Photo: Getty Images
Western Force have extended the woes of Super Rugby champions Queensland, thrashing the Reds 45-19 in Perth on Saturday and condemning them to a third straight loss.
Starting the game in last spot, the Force scored five tries to three against an injury-hit and out-of-sorts Queensland side clearly lacking confidence.
Over ... Sam Wara dives for a try. Photo: Getty Images
The Force scored the first 21 points and, subsequently, never led by less than 16.
Notorious for their final-quarter fadeouts, the hosts rattled up 17 straight points before winger Dom Shipperley notched Queensland's final try in the closing seconds.
It was the first time Queensland have lost three in a row since 2009.
Reeling from successive losses in South Africa, where they lost 61-8 to the Bulls last weekend, Queensland had few answers to the relentless enthusiasm and forward grunt of the Force.
The Reds didn't help themselves, committing several uncharacteristic errors which prevented them applying any sustained pressure. Tries to five-eighth James Stannard and lock Nathan Sharpe and a conversion and three penalties to fullback Dave Harvey rewarded the Force for their early dominance.
Impressive outside centre Nick Cummins set up Stannard's five-pointer and Sharpe smashed his way over from close range following a run by outstanding halfback Brett Sheehan.
Queensland finally gained some momentum in the last five minutes of the half, with prop James Slipper barrelling his way over after the Reds opted against kicking for goal.
Queensland's hopes of maintaining the momentum into the second half were cruelly crushed within four minutes of the restart.
Ben Seymour, who replaced the injured Stannard, crossed for the Force's third try after Sheehan charged down a kick from Reds' five-eighth Dallan Murphy.
Veteran lock Van Humphries ignited hopes of a Reds revival when he took a great pass from replacement prop Greg Holmes and scampered over the line, with Murphy converting.
There was no further score for 17 minutes, but a penalty to Harvey, who finished with 20 points from eight out of nine attempts, triggered a late Force surge.
Winger Samu Wara won the chase to a perfectly-weighted Seymour kick to score the Force's bonus-point try.
A great break by the impressive Cummins resulted in a spectacular try to flanker Matt Hodgson.
WESTERN FORCE 45 (Matthew Hodgson, Ben Seymour, Nathan Sharpe, James Stannard, Samu Wara tries David Harvey 4 cons 4 pens) bt QUEENSLAND REDS 19 (Van Humphries, Dom Shipperley, James Slipper tries Dallan Murphy 2 cons) at nib Stadium. Referee: Garratt Williamson. Crowd: 13,034.