The Crusaders fought off a second-half comeback to defeat the Sharks 23-18 on Friday night in Labasa to book their spot in the 2008 Colonial
Experience proved the decisive factor for the two-time runners-up as they dominated all phases of play to secure what will be their third appearance in the Colonial Cup final.
The Iliesa Tanivula-coached side did not waste time in the first spell giving their all from kick-off to take a comfortable 18-0 lead at the breather.
The hosts regrouped and came back strongly in the second half dotting down two tries, a conversion and two penalty goals to narrow the deficit but it was not enough to overcome the Crusaders, who will now face in the final the winners of Saturday's clash between the Knights and the Highlanders. Quotes: Ifereimi Tawake
“Our plan was to play in their half and play wide but this was not so. We cannot play catch up rugby and that was what we did today. We didn't score in the first half and tried to make it up in the second, but we left everything to the last minute."
"When fatigue kicks in we were under pressure. This was where the Crusaders had the advantage of depth in their team to pull through. Our plan was to try and go all the way but I guess we'll have to take a step one at a time." Iliesa Tanivula
"It was a relief that we won. We wanted the win more and I guess it showed in how we played out here today. I give credit to the boys for their outstanding performance."
"I believe we were more prepared both physically and mentally especially after the loss to the Sharks in the pool stages. We started well today and dominated the set-pieces, however we need to work on our defence, communicatuion and discipline. It did not help being flashed three cards today and we hope to improve on that in the final." Ilivasi Tabua
(Fiji Head coach):
"The Sharks had a chance to win in front of their home crowd but they played straight into the hands of the Crusaders. If only Sharks had utilised their strength well the result could have been different. Overall, I think both teams need to improve on their kicking and ball retention."
"And I must also acknowledge the support from the fans today. They were great and it does help the growth of the Colonial Cup competition and Fiji rugby as a whole." Friday 28 March 2008
Sharks 18 Crusaders 23
Colonial Cup Semi-final
Subrail Park, Labasa
: 15 Setareki Koroilagilagi (Penaia Vakaruru 65), 14 Vereimi Vilitati, 13 Isoa Rokobici, 12 Josefa Satini (Navitalai Bola 80), 11 Apisalome Waqabaca (yellow card 27-36) , 10 Amani Bosenawai, 9 Netani Koroi (Jock Luita 69), 8 Timoci Vakadranu, 7 Sailosi Rabonaqica, 6 Kolinio Vasuilagi (capt), 5 Joeli Lutumailagi (Lemeki Laqere 65), 4 Mosese Fatiaki, 3 Warua Aritema, 2 Viliame Veikoso, 1 Setefano Savuoca Not Used:
Anare Koki, Sikeli Tikoibua, Pita McComber Coach:
Ifereimi Tawake Tries
: Waqabaca, Vasuilagi; Conversion
: Bosenawai: Penalty goal:
Bosenawai (2) CRUSADERS:
15 Asaeli Driu, 14 Savenaca Waqa, 13 Tevita Latianara, 12 Vuniani Bari (yellow card 5-14, Sunia Vata 72), 11 Vima Tuidraki (Dan Rawaqa 55), 10 Waisea Luveniyali, 9 Aporosa Vata (capt) (Semi Keli 73), 8 Aca Bibi (yellow card 75-84), 7 Aminiasi Nava (yellow card 42-51), 6 Seta Ratatagia (Kelepi Ketedromo 64), 5 Mo Natuilagilagi (Jona Tavai 65), 4 Ifereimi Naruma, 3 Viliame Seuseu, 2 Aseri Buli (Joeli Lotawa 64), 1 Sikeli Gavidi (Paulo Cata 55) Coach:
Iliesa Tanivula Tries
: Vata, Ratatagia, Latianara; Conversion:
Luveniyali: Penalty goal
: Luveniyali (2) Colonial Man of the Match
: Aporosa Vata (Crusaders) Scoring Sequence
(Sharks’ scores shown first
15min – PEN GOAL CRUSADERS, Luveniyali – 0-3
19min – PEN GOAL CRUSADERS, Luveniyali – 0-6
23min – TRY CRUSADERS, Vata, conversion Luveniyali (missed) – 0-11
35min – TRY CRUSADERS, Ratatagia; conversion Luveniyali – 0-18 Half-time
43min – PEN GOAL SHARKS, Bosenawai – 3-18
52min – TRY SHARKS, Waqabaca, conversion Bosenawai (missed) – 8-18
61min – PEN GOAL CRUSADERS, Luveniyali (missed) – 8-18
64min – TRY CRUSADERS, Latianara, conversion Luveniyali (missed) – 8-23
72min – PEN GOAL SHARKS, Bosenawai – 11-23
85min – TRY SHARKS, Vasuilagi, conversion Bosenawai – 18-23 Full-time