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Western Force beat Bulls 15-9 in rain-drenched Super Rugby clash

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PERTH, Australia - South Africa-born flyhalf Sias Ebersohn kicked five penalties from as many attempts to lift the Western Force to a 15-9 win over the Petoria-based Bulls in Super Rugby on Saturday.

Ebersohn kicked his third penalty in the 40th minute to give the Perth-based Force their first lead at 9-6 and added two goals in the second half to clinch his team's sixth win of the season, hoisting them to second in the Australian conference.

The Force ended a club-record five-match winning streak with last weekend's 22-16 loss to the Melbourne Rebels but regained winning momentum with a rain-drenched home win on Saturday.

The three-time champion Bulls slumped to a fourth-straight loss on their tour to New Zealand and Australia — and to their seventh-straight loss away from home.

The Force showed superior ball control in slippery conditions while the Bulls paid heavily for handling errors and breakdown turnovers as they slumped to their sixth loss in 10 games.

"It was a big win for us," Force captain Matt Hodgson said. "They came out firing. I think they wanted to get one win before they head home so we had to nullify that ... we had a lot of discipline in that second half and played a good kick and territory game.

"Kudos to our back three, kicking it back, but also to our kick-chase for the whole 80 minutes. We didn't give them many options running it back."

Bulls flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgeiter kicked penalties in the fourth and 12th minutes to give his team an early 6-0 lead but Ebersohn's goals in the 25th, 32nd and 39th earned the Force a lead they refused to relinquish. Ebersohn booted the home team to a 15-6 lead after 59 minutes and the Bulls were able to add only one penalty, through Handre Pollard, in the second spell.

Sound handling and accurate kicking in trying conditions kept the Force in charge of the match while the Bulls lacked patience and decision on attack.

"Frustrating. In these conditions you have to hold onto the ball and do your basics right," Bulls captain Victor Matfield said. "That last 20 minutes in the first half we knocked few out of the air. We just gave them territory and from there they got penalties."

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Western Force 15 (Sias Ebersohn 5 penalties), Bulls 9 (Jacques-Louis Pogeiter 2 penalties; Handre Pollard penalty). HT: 9-6.

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