WATCH: Western Force legend Jeremy Thrush seals comeback with match-winning try against Melbourne Rebels

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Veteran second-row Jeremy Thrush was the Western Force’s hero when he scored the match-winning try in their 34-27 win over the Melbourne Rebels in Perth on Saturday.

As the scoreline suggests, this was a nail-biting affair with the result in the balance until the end, but the Rebels will be kicking themselves as they held the upper-hand for long periods before a strong finish from the Force sealed their stunning victory.

With the sides level at 27-27 and with time running out on the clock, the former All Black, who came out of retirement before the campaign, crossed the whitewash from close quarters in the 73rd minute as the Force made a superb start to the Super Rugby Pacific season.

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Earlier, the visitors made an excellent start as they raced into a 17-3 lead by the 25th-minute courtesy of tries from Carter Gordon and Ryan Louwrens as well as accurate goal-kicking from Reece Hodge.

The Force‘s only points during that period came via a penalty from Bryce Hegarty before Tom Robertson scored their opening try in the 33rd minute with Hegarty adding the extras.

The visitors continued to dominate, however, and added a converted try from Brad Wilkin before Hegarty slotted another three-pointer off the kicking tee which meant the Rebels were leading 24-13 at the interval.

The second half was a totally different matter, though, as the Force gained the upper hand, and they were leading 27-24 by the 64th minute thanks to two converted Dave Horton tries and another penalty from Hegarty.

The Rebels drew level when Hodge succeeded with his second penalty in the 67th minute, but the home side would have the final say when Thrush secured with his late heroics, and Hegarty added the final nail in the visitors’ coffin when he slotted the resulting conversion.

Video credit: Super Rugby Pacific

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