The Western Force maintained their unbeaten record in Global Rapid Rugby with an impressive 27-15 victory against the Fijian Latui in Lautoka at the weekend.
The home side opened the scoring with a fifth minute try to returning halfback Frank Lomani but a yellow card to captain Mosese Voka enabled the Force to seize control of the match with tries to Issak Fines and Jack McGregor.
Manu Samoa international AJ Alatimu added two conversions and a penalty to open give the visitors a 12 point advantage at half-time and slotted another penalty goal 10 minutes into the second spell to extend their lead to 20-5 with 25 minutes remaining.
Mosese Voka atoned for his first half indiscretion with a 57th minute try to cut the deficit to 10 points only for Apisalome Vota to become the second Latui player sent to the sin bin two minutes later. The Force wasted no time capitalising on their one-man advantage with replacement hooker Feleti Kaitu’u scoring their third try of the match a minute later to extend the lead to 17 points, with Flying Fijians international Mesulame Dolokoto managing a consolation try in the final minute.
Veteran Western Force hooker Heath Tessmann said they were able to withstand some early pressure before taking control of the match.
“We know that even going through our Australian NRC competition and other teams coming over here they haven’t had much success over here so we knew they were going to come out on fire and throwing everything at us,” he said.
“We were pretty happy to chance our arm early and it didn’t really pay off but we’ve got a good group where we kind of understood that if we just persisted at our work, kept kind of pushing for it and pushing for it and staying patient, that the opportunities would present themselves later and fortunately they did and we capitalised from there on.”