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Force hold Chiefs tryless in upset win

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Sportal.co.nz     22 Mar 2014     Getty Images

The defending champions went tryless while the home team, who have completed three successive wins, scored two tries through captain Matt Hodgson. They haven't won three in a row since 2007.

His first was 13 minutes from a lineout drive and his second six minutes into the second half.

But if it was any comfort for the Chiefs, the Sharks were beaten by the Bulls 19-23 and the Lions managed to beat the Reds 23-20.

The Sharks, who have played an extra game sit at the head of the table with 19 points, while the Waratahs (four) and Lions (six games) have 16 points while the Force (five), Chiefs (four) and Bulls (five) have 14 points.

The Chiefs are still on top of the New Zealand ladder, two points ahead of the Blues on 12 and the Highlanders on 11, with the Blues having played an extra game.

The Force moved to second on the Australian ladder.

The Chiefs worked hard to secure the game in its final stages but were unable to break down the determined home defence. Their only points came from four penalty goals to Aaron Cruden and one to Gareth Anscombe. It was the first time the Chiefs hadn't scored a try in Australia since the Brumbies achieved the feat in 2001.

The Chiefs led 9-8 at half-time with Cruden landing a penalty goal after the half-time hooter. Four minutes into the second half, Anscombe was successful with a long-range shot.

But that saw the Force respond quickly with Hodgson's second try. The Force almost followed that up straight away with another try, but wing Nick Cummings was ruled by the TMO to have put a foot in touch.

Force goal-kicker Sias Ebersohn, who kicked eight points, landed a penaty goal after 58 minutes and Cruden landed his fourth with 18 minutes left.

Force coach Michael Foley said he was thrilled with the outcome.

"The character shown in front of a champion side tonight was outstanding," he said.

"We started with a lot of enthusiasm; a couple of things did not go quite right for us, we weren't accurate with a few things but I think from the first couple of minutes you see the amount of heart the boys put into that performance," he said.

The ability to hold the Chiefs at the end shown how much the side had advanced since last year.

"We've only had three wins but if you bottle some of the great stuff out of the last three weeks, we could go on to have a good season," he said.

The Chiefs play the Bulls and Cheetahs in South Africa over the next two weeks.

Scorers:

Force 18 (Matt Hodgson 2 tries; Sias Ebersohn con, 2 pen) Chiefs 15 (Aaron Cruden 4 pen; Gareth Anscombe pen). HT: 8-9