Force flyhalf Miotti breaks Waratahs' hearts
SUPER RUGBY AU REPORT: The Western Force’s finals hopes are still alive after Argentinian flyhalf Domingo Miotti nailed a penalty after the final siren to lift his side to a 31-30 victory over the Waratahs in Perth.
The Waratahs were on track for their first win of the Super Rugby AU season when unheralded flyhalf Ben Donaldson nailed his sixth kick of the night to give the visitors a 30-21 lead.
But the Force refused to give up, with a Jordan Olowofela try in the 72nd minute and a clutch Miotti conversion from the sideline reducing the margin to two points.
The Waratahs lost a line-out with just seconds remaining to give the Force one final chance of victory.
The Force unleashed phase after phase after the final siren in a bid to find the winning points, and they got their chance when NSW were penalised for offside.
Miotti stepped up to the plate and calmly slotted the 21m penalty from straight in front to send the 9 253 crowd into raptures.
The result lifted the Force into third spot, three points clear of the Rebels.
But given the Rebels have two games to play and the Force just one, the Melbourne-based franchise is still a good chance to snare third spot.
The Rebels take on the Brumbies on Sunday, before rounding out their season against the Waratahs.
The Force play the ladder-leading Reds in Perth next Friday.
The win was the Force’s first Super triumph in Perth since they beat the Waratahs 40-11 in 2017.
But the victory came at a cost, with lock Jeremy Thrush limping off in the 47th minute with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
The Waratahs were on the back foot early after flank Lachie Swinton was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle in the third minute.
The Force scored almost immediately when prop Tom Robertson barged through two players to cross.
Waratahs No.8 Will Harris pulled a try back in the 16th minute, and flyhalf Donaldson faced an embarrassing moment when he continually tried and failed to get the ball to balance on the tee for the conversion attempt.
With his allotted time running out, Donaldson had no choice but to unleash a drop kick, and he nailed it through the middle.
Force hooker Feleti Kaitu’u put the home side ahead again in the 25th minute when he ripped the ball out of teammate Santiago Medrano’s hands while the prop was being tackled, and then sprinted 33m to the line.
Miotti made it 18-10 heading into the break when he nailed a 35m drop goal.
The Waratahs came out firing in the second half, with fullback Jack Maddocks and former Force wing Alex Newsome crossing within minutes of each other to give the visitors a 24-18 edge.
But a late rally from the Force got the home team over the line, despite the heroics of Donaldson who nailed a perfect three-from-three penalties, and three-from-three conversion attempts.
For Western Force:
Tries: Robertson, Kaitu’u, Olowofela
Cons: Miotti 2
Pens: Miotti 3
Tries: Harris, Maddocks, Newsome
Cons: Donaldson 3
Pens: Donaldson 3
Yellow card: Lachlan Swinton (Waratahs, 2 – dangerous tackle)
Western Force: 15 Jack McGregor, 14 Richard Kahui, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin (captain), 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Tim Anstee, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Fergus Lee-Warner, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Grason Makara, 23 Jake Strachan.
Waratahs: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Izaia Perese, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 James Ramm, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Will Harris, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Max Douglas, 4 Hugh Sinclair, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 David Porecki, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Tom Horton, 17 Te Tera Faulkner, 18 Darcy Breen, 19 Sam Caird, 20 Jeremy Williams, 21 Charlie Gamble, 22 Jack Grant, 23 Tane Edmed
Referee: Amy Perrett
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper & Matthew Kellahan
TMO: James Leckie