Mathewson stars in Force's upset win over Reds
BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) –
Kiwi scrum-half Alby Mathewson inspired the Western Force to their first win of the Super 15 season with an 19-12 upset of Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Force broke a losing six-match run going back to last season to down the fancied Reds and scored the only try of the match.
While most interest centred on the return from injury of Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia for the Reds, it was his opposite number former All Black Mathewson who was the star.
Mathewson set up the only try and almost engineered another as the Force celebrated their first win in Brisbane in six attempts.
Not since the Perth franchise smashed the Reds 45-19 almost a year ago has the Force delivered a better 80-minute team performance.
They were the underdogs but deserved their win, being hungrier in defence and more accurate in attack than Queensland, who were shut out by resolute defence in the second half.
Queensland-raised forwards Hugh McMeniman, Angus Cotterell and Richard Brown all played key roles against the Reds pack.
“We’re bitterly disappointed with the performance,” Genia said.
“Too many errors, too many times running into touch and too many poor passes… it wasn’t acceptable.”
Genia’s Wallabies halves partner Quade Cooper made too many wayward passes and was fortunate not to have conceded a chargedown try to Chris Alcock in the first half.
The Force led 13-12 at halftime but would have been further ahead if not for the goalkicking of Cooper, who slotted four penalties, and turnovers forced by flanker Liam Gill.
The visitors took a 13-9 lead in the 32nd minute when Mathewson broke from a lineout, brushing off Saia Faingaa on the way, before putting winger Alfi Mafi over in the left corner.
Genia looked sharp for Queensland in his 40-minute comeback from a knee reconstruction and almost ran down Mafi to stop the try.
While the Reds were held tryless for only the third time at home, Mathewson almost set up a second try to Junior Rasolea but his kick ahead was spilled by the winger over the try-line.
Force captain Pek Cowan said his side had capitalised on their opportunities for their first win of the season.
“We took a lot out of our Bulls game, and we had two weeks to prepare for this game. We capitalised on every opportunity we had tonight. I’m very pleased,” Cowan said.
The Force are at home to South Africa’s in-form Central Cheetahs next week, while the Reds host the Northern Bulls.