The Western Force went down fighting against an entertaining Fijian Drua. Spink and Williams impressing for the full 80, navigating space and powering through persistent defence.
The high-scoring contest finished with the Force going down by 10 (48-38) on a still Brisbane night.
The result was an improvement on the first trial match against the Reds. Although errors caused by ill-discipline resulted in a few too many penalties, with the first round of Super Rugby just under one week away, these are minor adjustments the Force will look to make.
Playing in the traditional black and gold strip of Western Australia, the Force opened the scoring after only three minutes, when Zac Kibirige crossed in the corner.
Bayley Kuenzle converted to make it 7 – 0, but the lead was short lived with the Drua hitting back through prop Jone Tiko.
A series of penalties allowed the Fijians to dominate possession and territory, with the Drua’s Frank Lomani taking a quick tap to set up Ilaisa Droasese before another series of penalties resulted in Ratu Rotuisolia crashing over to put the Fijians up 17 – 8 midway through the half.
Quick feet and speed to burn knocked several points on the board for Drua, with Iosefa Masi capitalising on a poor Force lineout to score, increasing the margin to 17 points.
New Force recruit Michael Wells stemmed the flow when he crossed in the 32nd minute, but when Tuidrake Samusamuvodre swooped on another loose pass, the Fijians were up 29 – 14 heading into the break.
The second half was eerily similar to the first, with brilliant phases of attack from both sides interrupted by costly errors. Moments of glory were quickly shaded with the Fijians using sheer size and power to score whenever they got close to the line.
The Force never let the game get too far out of reach. A try to local Perth product Marley Pearce in the 77th minute took the score to 41-38; the Force could smell victory and were on the brink of an upset. But a second try to Kaliopasi Uluilakepa sealed it for the Drua.
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Western Force 38
Tries; Pearce, Kaitu’u, Spink, Kibirige, Wells. Conversion; Kuenzle 2/4, Stewrt 2/2
Fiji Drua 48
Tries; Uluilakepa 2, Droasese, Masi, Samusamuvodre, Rotuisolia, Tiko. Conversions; Muntz 4/7 .