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Another big crowd turned up for World Series Rugby to watch the Western Force post a 47-17 victory over a Tongan representative side in Sunday’s clash at nib Stadium.
Pre-match fireworks, dancers, a magic show, and even a sideline marriage proposal entertained the 16,323 crowd.
The Force scored the first three tries of the match to race out to a 21-3 lead, but their advantage was whittled down to just four points by halftime following a spirited Tongan fightback.
However, the Force regained their dominance in the second half to cruise to the seven-tries-to-two victory.
WSR founder Andrew Forrest has lived up to his promise to provide plenty of entertainment as part of the rugby experience.
And while no seven-point tries have been scored just yet, the on-field play has generally been free-flowing and fast.
A crowd of 19,466 turned up for last week’s WSR opener, when the Force defeated the Fiji Warriors 24-14.
Although the crowd was a bit smaller on Sunday, it still dwarfed the 5283 that watched the Rebels’ 27-24 win over the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.
It meant that for the second time in as many weeks, the largest crowd at a rugby match in Australia was produced by World Series Rugby.
The concept will now go on a short break, before resuming on June 9 when the Force take on Super Rugby side the Melbourne Rebels.
The Rebels are coached by former Force mentor Dave Wessels, and the WSR encounter looms as an intriguing grudge match of sorts.
The Force shot out of the blocks on Sunday with tries to winger Rod Davies, flyhalf Andrew Deegan, and centre Marcel Brache inside the first 20 minutes.
Davies went off midway through the first half when he landed heavily on his right shoulder after being taken out while trying to mark a kick-off.
Tonga scored the final two tries of the half to close the margin to 21-17 by the break, but the Force obliterated their tired opponents in the second half.
The visiting side was made up of Tongan players plying their trade in Australia, NZ, and Tonga.