The Western Force dealt the Queensland Reds a surprise home defeat, overpowering the 2011 champions in Brisbane yesterday.
The Reds, chasing a 23rd win from 26 home matches, never came close to their fluent best in a hard-fought encounter with Quade Cooper below par and numerous handling errors in the face of ferocious pressure.
Alfi Mafi scored the only try and Sias Ebersohn kicked 14 points for the Perth outfit, who started the match second bottom in the overall standings and were unlucky not to clinch their first win of the season by a bigger margin.
“We’re bitterly disappointed with that performance,” said Reds captain Will Genia, who made his comeback from a knee injury.
“It’s very poor. We got a little possession there but we got carried over there trying to do silly things and we got what we deserved.”
There could have been more tries for the visitors but for some valiant defending by the Reds and some bad luck for the Force, who have now won at all four of their Australian Super Rugby rivals.
There was some good news for the Reds, however, with the return of scrum-half Genia after more than six months out following knee reconstruction and he played the whole of the first half.
After David Pocock and Berrick Barnes were injured on successive weekends, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans would also have been pleased to see Genia come through 40 minutes of rugby unscathed.