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Some days the Force can't catch a break

Tough going ... Salesi Manu looks to break through the Cheetahs' defence.

Tough going ... Salesi Manu looks to break through the Cheetahs' defence. Photo: Getty Images

THEY lose their head coach, Richard Graham, to the Reds. Then Will Genia does an about face and opts not to move to Perth. Now the Force discover that when on the road, it can feel as if everyone is out to get them.

The frustrations for the Force intensified yesterday when they suffered a tight loss to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, which could have easily been a triumph if refereeing decisions had gone their way.

Hours after the Force's four-point loss, players and officials were still trying to comprehend several questionable refereeing decisions by Stuart Berry in an ill-tempered match regularly punctuated by onfield scuffles.

The Force players often appeared staggered by Berry's rulings, with their captain, David Pocock, repeatedly querying the referee. His team were noticeably irritated and their discipline deteriorated at crucial times, prompting several more penalties against them.

The Force lost the penalty count 18-6, but the most crucial call came just before half-time when winger Samu Wara's try, which would have given the tourists a two-point lead, was disallowed due to a previous offence. Berry was alerted by his assistant referee that Force prop Salesi Ma'afu had interfered with the course of play by putting a high tackle on the Cheetahs No.8 Philip van der Walt. From the next play, Wara scored on the other side of the field.

The Force rallied after half-time, taking the lead when Winston Stanley charged down a kick to score but the Cheetahs replied with an Adriaan Strauss try and a penalty goal.

Interim Force coach Phil Blake described some of the refereeing as ''bewildering'', and the disallowed Wara try as a ''huge turning point''.

''It was a very frustrating evening, finding it hard to get into the game because we never had the possession and the penalty count was so high,'' Blake said.

Cheetahs second-rower Andries Ferreira was later cited for alleged foul play following a high tackle on Force back-rower Matt Hodgson in the final minutes.

Ferreira bound Hodgson around the neck at the breakdown, and then flung him to the ground. Shortly after, a groggy Hodgson had to be replaced.

Meanwhile, Rebels forward Luke Jones was suspended for two weeks after a guilty plea for a dangerous tackle on Bulls winger Bjorn Basson.

Patrick Lambie scored all the Sharks' points in their 28-16 win over the Highlanders in Durban. Lambie kicked seven penalties, scored a try and converted it. The Highlanders long injured list included forward Doug Tietjens, his replacement, Elliot Dixon, and fullback Tamati Ellison.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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