Force stun Chiefs
Matt Hodgson in Sydney on May 21, 2009 - by Greg Wood
The long-time cellar dwellers ran in the only two tries of the match and then held firm in a pulsating finish to win 18-15.
It was the Force's third win in succession, for the first time since 2007 and only the second time in their history, and it was just their second victory in eight clashes with the powerful Chiefs.
They ended Waikato's unbeaten run this season and it was the first time the New Zealanders had been held tryless on Australian soil in Super Rugby since 2001.
The Force, beaten badly by the Waratahs and Brumbies in their first two games of the season, moved to fifth on the table with the upset.
Sustained pressure from the Force led to an uncharacteristic 15 handling errors from the Chiefs, to the home team's five.
It was a well-deserved win for the Force, who not only scored the only two tries, but also twice crossed unsuccessfully.
Force skipper Matt Hodgson was the hero, scoring both tries, his first brace in 102 games of Super Rugby.
He was also held up over the line on another occasion, while Nick Cummins dived over in the corner, but his left foot stepped into touch as he lunged at the line.
In contrast, the Chiefs never got their game going and the couple of times they threatened the Force defence held firm.
It was almost fitting that the Chiefs' last two forward surges ended with ball-handling errors, a pair of knock-ons.
The visitors had a final chance when they regained possession just as the final hooter sounded, but again lost the ball forward.
Hodgson said the Force always believed they could turn around their slow start to the season and had set themselves to deny the Chiefs their running game.
"There is great belief in this group, we knew we could do it," he said.
"Now we are putting it on the board, which is great."
Chiefs captain Aaron Cruden said his team lacked the necessary desire.
"They grow an arm and a leg here at this stadium," he said.
"They deserved the win, they wanted it more than us."