Perth - The Melbourne Rebels have beaten the Force 25-19 in their first Super Rugby clash of the season at the nib Stadium in Perth.
Rebels’ Reece Hodge scored 20 points with two tries, two conversions, and two penalties in his debut.
Hodge was moved to fullback shortly before kick off after Jack Debreczeni withdrew through injury and Mike Harris slotted in at flyhalf.
The visitors’ centre, former All Black Tamati Ellison, also played a huge role in his side’s victory and he set up both Hodge’s tries with powerful runs before offloading to the debutant who had easy run-ins.
The Force levelled the scores in the 10th minute as their new recruit, former Waratah Jono Lance, set the trend for the match with a penalty of his own.
Lance scored all of the Force's points, including a first-half try, as he went head-to-head with Hodge on the scoreboard for most of the match.
A Timati Ellison break enabled Hodge to score the first try of the match in the 30th minute and the pair also combined in almost identical circumstances later in the match to secure the win.
Lance scored his try late in the first half and kept the Force score ticking over with penalties, but the Rebels were able to hang on in a slogging finish as players tired in the hot conditions.
Teams:Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Angus Cottrell, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan
Substitutes: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Chris Alcock, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Semisi Masirewa
Rebels: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Mije Harris, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Sean McMahon (c), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Steve Cummins, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Jonah Placid, 23 Daniel Hawkins