The Western Force's New Zealand horror show has continued with an embarrassing 54-21 loss to the COVID-hit Chiefs in Hamilton.
The Force were desperate to come out firing in Saturday's Super Rugby Pacific match after copping a 61-10 loss to the Highlanders and a 53-15 defeat to the Crusaders over the past fortnight.
But a hat-trick of tries to Chiefs inside centre Quinn Tupaea put the game to bed by early in the second half, with the home side running in eight tries to three to secure the bonus-point win.
The result has put the Chiefs (9-4) in the box seat to secure a top-four berth and a home quarter-final.
The Force (2-10) will have little other than pride to fight for in the final two matches of their disappointing season.
The only sour note to come out of the match for the Chiefs was an injury to captain Sam Cane, whose right knee buckled under contact from the side from Force prop Santiago Medrano.
The All Blacks skipper will now undergo scans to determine the extent of the damage.
The Chiefs entered the match missing a host of players due to COVID-19 protocols, but it mattered little as they ran riot from the outset.
"Pretty happy with how the team performed here, and I was lucky enough to bag three tries," Tupaea told Stan after the match.
"We had a pretty tough week leaving some boys in Australia, and coming back some boys getting COVID as well. But we kept positive."
The Force's scrum crumbled so badly on numerous occasions in the first half that they ended up avoiding it at all costs when given the choice.
The scoreline read 21-0 after 31 minutes following a double to Tupaea and a barging try to prop Aidan Ross.
The Force finally had something to smile about in the 32nd minute when a chip kick from flyhalf Jake McIntrye found winger Toni Pulu, who caught the ball at full flight before touching down in the corner.
Tupaea secured his hat-trick in the 46th minute when he fended off McIntyre to stroll over, and a burst from flyhalf Bryn Gatland three minutes later set up an impressive team try to fullback Kaleb Trask.
The Chiefs ran in another four tries after that, including two to reserve hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho.
"From the outset the Chiefs really fronted up with their forward pack and it took us a little while to get into the game," Force captain Feleti Kaitu'u said.
"I guess we just have to go back to the drawing board. We have to look where we fell short."
Australian Associated Press
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