Rob Kearney made his first appearance for the Western Force in almost two months in a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Chiefs in Perth.
The Force had a chance to win the game at the death thanks to a last-gasp Dimongo Miotti try, but the Argentine fly-half was unable to convert his own try as the Chiefs held onto the narrowest of leads.
Former Ireland international Kearney played for 78 minutes in the first round Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash, having been sidelined by a hip abductor injury for his side’s last five games.
We fought until the very end.
— Western Force (@westernforce) May 15, 2021
Agonising late miss for the Western Force.
The Chiefs went into today’s game in Perth as strong favourites, having finished runners-up in New Zealand’s domestic competition Super Rugby Aotearoa.
However, the Force proved to be more than a handful for the New Zealanders as they the gave themselves a great opportunity to win the game at the death after two late tries from former All Black Richard Kahui and Miotti.
Miotti’s conversion from near the left touch-line just faded off to the right of the goalposts, as the Chiefs bounced back from their loss to the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Aotearoa final.
Disappointing weekend for the Australians.
The Force’s heartbreaking defeat meant that all five Australian sides lost their encounters with New Zealand opposition in the first round of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
The weekend started poorly for the Aussies, as Super Rugby AU champions the Queensland Reds suffered a 21-point loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Super Rugby Trans Tasman | Crusaders v Brumbies – Rd 1 Highlights
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) May 15, 2021
The New South Wales Waratahs were beaten in a ludicrously high-scoring game which finished 64-48 to the Hurricanes, while the Melbourne Rebels were dominated by the Blues in a 50-3 hammering.
The Brumbies also suffered an agonising loss due to a late missed kick, as Noah Lolesio was unable to score an equalising conversion for his side against the Crusaders in Christchurch.