The Western Force have heaped more pain on the Crusaders and dragged themselves off the bottom of the Super Rugby Pacific ladder with a 37-15 bonus-point victory over the fallen champions in Perth.

Former Wallabies star Kurtley Beale made a triumphant debut for the WA franchise in his first Super Rugby outing since 2020 as the Force notched their first win over the Crusaders in more than a decade.

The momentous 37-15 victory in the bottom-of-the-table encounter at HBF Park on Saturday night reignited the Force's finals hopes after a one-from-seven start to the season and left the Crusaders' title defence in tatters.

The most prolific champions in Super history with a dozen titles since the competition's inception in 1996, the Crusaders now face the ignominy of going from winners to wooden spooners after a disastrous start to their 2024 campaign.

In what would have been unthinkable before the season kicked off, the Crusaders are now dead last after winning only one of their first eight games. 

It's an alarming scenario for embattled coach Rob Penney, who three years ago presided over the opening five games of the NSW Waratahs' historic first-ever winless season.

While Penney must be stressing, Force coach Simon Cron is plotting a path to the finals after his side moved to within a victory of the top eight with their first success over the Crusaders since 2013.

And they did it despite spending 10 minutes of the first half a man down following the first-half sin-binning of flanker Carlo Tizzano.

Western Force 37 [Tries: Tiatia, Horton, Carter, Tizzano; Con: Donaldson; Pens: Donaldson 5] Crusaders 15 [Tries: Aumua, Bell, Reece]

Force: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Bayley Kuenzle, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Nic White (captain), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Will Harris, 5 Thomas Franklin, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Ryan Coxon.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Marley Pearce, 18 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22 Max Burey, 23 Henry O’Donnell.

Crusaders: 15 Chay Fihaki, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Macca Springer, 10 Riley Hohepa, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Tom Christie (captain), 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Jamie Hannah, 4 Quinten Strange, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Brodie McAlister, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 George Bell, 17 George Bower, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Dom Gardiner, 20 Cullen Grace, 21 Noah Hotham, 22 Rivez Reihana, 23 Ryan Crotty.

Referee: Reuben Keane
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper, Jeremy Markey
TMO: Kyle Burnett