Force hold off Highlanders to win 33-28 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Force hold off Highlanders to win 33-28

17/05/2009 06:38:06 AM Comments (0)

Japan-bound winger Scott Staniforth scored a pair of first-half tries as the Western Force beat the Otago Highlanders 33-28 Saturday in a Super 14 match involving teams with no chance of making the semi-finals.

The Highlanders were on their way home from a three-loss South African road trip, while the Force saw their playoff hopes end last week following a one-point loss to the Stormers in Cape Town.

The match marked an exodus of Force players. Wallabies flyhalf Matt Giteau and Josh Valentine will play with the ACT Brumbies next season, Drew Mitchell and Tai McIsaac are heading to the New South Wales Waratahs and Staniforth, Ben Castle and Tamaiti Horua will play overseas.

Staniforth, who has 12 test caps for Australia, played his 100th Super match. He will move to Yokogawa in Japan next season.

"It's the end of my Super 14 career, so there is a bit of sadness but there's an exciting challenge ahead," the 31-year-old Staniforth said. "To finish on 100 is quite special.

"Whenever you get a big group of players like this leaving it is a bit emotional because it's the last chance to play together."

The match was also the last Force match at Subiaco Oval, which is primarily an Australian Rules football ground. The team will play its future home matches at the rectangular Members Equity Stadium beginning in 2010.

Western Force 33 (Scott Staniforth 2, Ryan Cross, Haig Sare tries; Matt Giteau 3 penalties, 2 conversions), Otago 28 (Ben Smith 2, Tom Donnelly, Jimmy Cowan tries; Daniel Bowden 4 conversions). Halftime: 23-0.

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