Force adapt better to wet Ellis Park pitch

AN empty, chilly, wet Ellis Park is not the most hospitable place to be on a Saturday night, but the visiting Western Force from Perth, Australia, made the most of conditions to record their fourth win of the 2010 Super 14 when beating the Lions 33-12.

AN empty, chilly, wet Ellis Park is not the most hospitable place to be on a Saturday night, but the visiting Western Force from Perth, Australia, made the most of conditions to record their fourth win of the 2010 Super 14 when beating the Lions 33-12.

A light shower minutes before kickoff made conditions difficult for the players but it was the visitors who adapted the quickest.

Once again it was silly infringements that marred the first half for the Lions and handed Force flyhalf David Hill a flurry of penalties he easily slotted to take his side to a comfortable 12-3 lead.

Forcing their way back into the game thanks to Herkie Kruger and his trusty right boot, it looked like the Lions might go into the break tied at 12-all before a well-worked move 23 seconds before the interval saw the Force's left wing, Scott Staniforth, touch down next to the posts.

Perhaps it was the Europe hit song Final Countdown blaring over the PA system during the break that put a jinx on the Lions, but it was the poor execution of the basics that cost the home side. Even when Lions coach Dick Muir emptied the bench with 20 minutes left on the clock, it made little difference.

Meanwhile, the Bulls kept their semifinal hopes on track with a workmanlike display when they defeated the visiting Sharks 27-19 at a packed Loftus.

"The conditions weren't easy and we would have loved to have scored a bonus point," said Bulls captain Victor Matfield after the match.

Sharks skipper John Smit said: "The Bulls stuck to their game plan and were the deserved winners."

Other weekend results: Highlanders 26, Waratahs 10; Stormers 42, Crusaders 12; Hurricanes 33, Chiefs 27; Brumbies 32, Reds 12 and Cheetahs 36, Blues 32.

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