Sun, Feb 18, 2007 - Page 7 News List

Western Force edge past Bulls at Loftus

SUPER 14 The Australian squad returned from an 11-point deficit to beat the Bulls on their own turf, while the Stormers took a 21-16 win over the Chiefs

AP , PRETORIA

Stormers wing Breyton Paulse, right, celebrates after scoring a try against the Chiefs on Friday during their Super14 rugby match at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. Chiefs wing Roy Kinikinilau and an unidentified spectator look on.

PHOTO: AFP

Cameron Shepherd scored two second-half tries and Gareth Hardy added another to rally Western Force from an 11-point deficit to a 30-27 Super 14 victory over the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Friday.

Shepherd accounted for 25 of Western Force's points, including three first-half penalties to keep his side within 17-9 at the break.

The victory -- only the third for the Australian side in the Super 14 ranks -- gave Western Force nine points and moved it to the top of the table with five games remaining in the third round of matches.

Center J.P. Nel scored two tries to help stake the Bulls to their early lead.

Flyhalf Morne Steyn converted both tries and kicked a penalty as the Bulls appeared confident in the early going.

But Shepherd cut the lead to 17-16 with a try and conversion six minutes into the second half.

Steyn added another penalty, and Bulls flanker Anton Leonard touched down after some sustained pressure.

Steyn's conversion increased the Bulls' lead to 27-16 with only 20 minutes remaining.

But two minutes later, Shepherd chased down his own kick ahead and scored his second try to start Force's final rally.

With 10 minutes left, prop forward Gareth Hardy found himself in enough space to be able to beat covering tackles and crash over for the try and a 28-27 lead. Shepherd's conversion added the final margin.

In their efforts to score a winning try, the Bulls spurned three penalty kicks.

In Cape Town, the Stormers took their first victory of the season on Friday, beating the Chiefs of New Zealand 21-16 in a Super 14 match at the Newlands Stadium.

The Stormers scored a try in each half -- their first tries of the season -- and restricted the Chiefs to only a penalty in the second half.

Flyhalf Peter Grant started the scoring for the Stormers with a penalty, and his opposite number Stephen Donald replied three minutes later.

The Chiefs responded to another Grant penalty with a try by fullback Dwayne Sweeney, who outstripped the Stormers defense after a good line break by Niva Tau'auso.

Springbok winger Breyton Paulse scored a try after going clear with some fast footwork and a perfectly timed pass by Brent Russell.

The Stormers led 14-13 at halftime after a pair of penalties by Grant and Donald.

After the break, the play became scrappy as each team tried to get the game-breaking score.

Donald put the Chiefs ahead with a penalty, but Springbok center Jean de Villiers made an intercept in the 56th minute of the match to leave the score 21-16.

Neither side could turn a number of turnovers from poor handling into points in the final quarter.

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