Super Rugby: Western Force end 10-match home losing streak

PERTH, Australia (AP) The Western Force staged a late rally Thursday to beat the Queensland Reds 26-19 and end a 10-match home losing streak in Super Rugby.

Kicking off the second round of the season, Queensland winger Eto Nabuli’s third try of the match put the Reds in control early in the second half after the teams were level 12-12 at halftime.

Nabuli, who had scored only one try in 16 previous Super appearances, ran onto a perfectly-weighted grubber kick from Duncan Paia’aua to score his third try in the 49th minute.

But Sef Fa’agase’s yellow card in the 67th minute for a no-hands tackle proved costly, with the Force taking the lead on a 69th-minute try to rugby league convert Curtis Rona.

The Reds had a chance to draw level in the final seconds, but the Force won the ball back to secure victory.

The win was costly for the Force, who lost Wallabies lock Adam Coleman in the 34th minute with a calf injury.

Coleman, whose late-season tour to Europe with the Wallabies ended prematurely after straining a ligament in his left knee, could hardly move his left leg as trainers helped him off the ground. He appeared on the field after the match on crutches.

Queensland flyhalf Quade Cooper was left with a bloodied face after a first-half head clash with Force captain and hooker Heath Tessmann. Cooper was able to play on, but he was on the receiving end of a number of big Force tackles.

Tessmann said he senses a new energy in the Force this season after his side finished in last place in the Australian conference in 2016.

”I think 12 months ago we might not have carried this off, but there is a lot of confidence in this group,” Tessmann said.

The second round continues Friday when the Chiefs host fellow New Zealand side the Blues at Hamilton.

On Saturday, there are seven matches scheduled, including Japan’s Sunwolves playing a match against South Africa’s Kings in Singapore instead of their usual home base of Tokyo.