Reigning champion Waratahs cut down to size in season opener
Western Force stunned New South Wales Waratahs 25-13 at their Sydney Football Stadium home on Sunday to hand the error-prone Super Rugby champions a miserable start to their title defence.
The Force were the surprise package of last season and they indicated they would respect few reputations in 2015 either as they shackled the much vaunted Waratahs backline and secured a bonus point with four tries.
With Waratahs number eight Wycliff Palu in the sin-bin, flanker Chris Alcock got the ball over the line after a catch-and-drive five minutes before the break and fellow backrow forward Angus Cottrell barged over from close range straight after halftime.
Winger Rob Horne finally scored the Waratahs' first try of the season to cut the deficit to 15-8 after 55 minutes but Luke Morahan extended the Force lead on the break after a turnover 11 minutes later.
Replacement Force prop Francois van Wyk secured the bonus point after running back an ill-judged chip kick from Kurtley Beale eight minutes from time and Horne's second try was only going to be a consolation.
Van Wyk came on as a replacement for Wallaby Pek Cowan, who was taken off the pitch in a neck and head brace after a scrum collapsed in the 24th minute.