|Fiji Warriors trio, Wate Vocevoce, Waisale Vatuvoka and Deryck Thomas prepare to pounce on Eseroma Cakacaka who is on the charge for the Fiji Barbarians during their pre-season clash at the National Stadium in Suva. |
Fly-half Waisea Luveniyali kicked a conversion and three penalty goals to help the Air Pacific Fiji Warriors begin their IRB Pacific Rugby Cup campaign on a high as they defeat Tautahi Gold 21-19 at Churchill Park in Lautoka on Friday night.
Playing in front of a healthy 3,000 crowd, Luveniyali opened the scoreboard 10 minutes into the game when he converted a 25-metre penalty. Twelve minutes later, young Knights wing Timoci Nagusa showed his pace to get around the opposition and touch down between the posts. Luveniyali converted the try to give the Warriors a comfortable 10-0 lead.
Luveniyali notched two more penalty kicks to extend the lead to 16-0 at the breather.
The second spell saw a rejuvenated Tautahi Gold outfit take the field with more commitment in attack and they wasted no time to score two tries in a space of seven minutes to hooker Vainga Fangupo and inside centre Isileli Tupou. Skipper Fangatapu Apikotoa, who played at fly-half, converted one of the tries to reduce the deficit to 16-12.
In the 63rd minute, Stallions flanker Rupeni Nasiga finished off an attacking move with a neat sidestep to score the Warriors’ second try and make it 21-12, but from then on, the Warriors were on the back foot.
As the Tongans controlled possession well and rucked towards the Fijian line, the Warriors defence held firm until an injury-time try to halfback Soane Havea suddenly put the visitors back in with a chance at 21-19.
Six minutes into injury time, the Tongans were given a chance to snatch a victory when Samoan referee Tui Komiti awarded an penalty 40 metres out, but Apikotoa’s effort fell short.
Quotes: Iliesa Tanivula
(Air Pacific Fiji Warriors coach
On the win over the Tautahi Gold: “I am happy with the way the boys played tonight. I salute the boys. We came out here to win and try to launch our Pacific Rugby Cup campaign on a high and we did just that. Eighty percent of the time we were defending and I am proud of what I have seen. Our defensive game was just grand. The boys really dug deep in their defence though they were under pressure.”
“I am particularly proud of the younger boys. This was their first PRC outing but they really stood tall with their workrate.” On their next game against Savaii Samoa:
“This will be our first away game. I think it will be a lot similar to what we experienced tonight. With their burly forwards, the Samoans will definitely be playing physical rugby. But from what I have seen here tonight I believe we can match them in that area. The win tonight will be a great motivation for our players. We will just have to try and use our options wisely and play the game in Samoa’s half.” Ligeli Fusimalohi
(Tautahi Gold coach
): On the loss to the Air Pacific Fiji Warriors:
“It was a great game, no doubt. I must praise my boys for their effort though we lost. I thought the boys especially our young guys really proved themselves.”
“But I was not too happy with the referee. I thought some of his decisions were unjustified. He looked as if he was just marking my boys. Hopefully, we will see some improvement on this.” On their next game against Tau’uta Reds:
“Though it’s also a Tongan team we are still going out for a win. Our goal is to finish well in the Pacific Rugby Cup and I think we still have time to go back make amends, play better in our remaining games and do just that.” Friday 18 April 2008
Air Pacific Fiji Warriors 21 Tautahi Gold 19
IRB Pacific Rugby Cup Round 1
Churchill Park, Lautoka
Tui Komiti (Samoa)
3,000 AIR PACIFIC FIJI WARRIORS:
15 Iliesa Keresoni, 14 Timoci Nagusa (Taniela Rawaqa 72), 13 Saula Radidi, 12 Vuniyani Ratu, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Waisea Luveniyali, 9 Aporosa Vata (capt), 8 Sakiusa Matadigo, 7 Aca Ratuva (Wate Vocevoce 72), 6 Rupeni Nasiga, 5 Mosese Vasuitoga, 4 Samuela Anise (Sikeli Donu 70), 3 Viliame Seuseu (Isireli Temo 70), 2 Vereniki Sauturaga, 1 Alefoso Yalayalatabua
Not used: Viliame Veikoso, Waisale Vatuvoka, Jonetani Ralulu. Coach:
Iliesa Tanivula Tries:
Nagusa, Nasiga; Conversion:
Luveniyali; Penalty goals:
Luveniyali (3). TAUTAHI GOLD:
15 Sitaleki Luau, 14 Samisoni Pone, 13 Heimuli Pangai, 12 Isileli M Tupou (Peni Tokotaha 86), 11 Vea Paunga, 10 Fangatapu Apikotoa (capt), 9 Soane Havea (Leakona Tovi 86), 8 Aleki Taka, 7 Lisala Uasi (Tevita Ula 72), 6 Atunaisa Fakaosi, 5 Petelo Pifileti, 4 Samiu Ika (yellow card 46-55, Sione N Tonga 70), 3 Soane Ledger, 2 Vainga Fangupo (Feki Moala 66), 1 Viliami Kupu (Sione Maama 84) Not used:
Semisi Motuafuaka, Coach:
Ligeli Fusimalohi Tries:
Fangupo, Tupou, Havea; Conversions
: Apikotoa (2) Scoring Sequence (Air Pacific Fiji Warriors’ scores shown first):
3min – PEN GOAL TAUTAHI GOLD, Luau (missed) – 0-0
10min – PEN GOAL AIR PACIFIC FIJI WARRIORS, Luveniyali – 3-0
17min – DROP GOAL TAUTAHI GOLD, Apikotoa (missed) – 3-0
22min – TRY AIR PACIFIC FIJI WARRIORS, Nagusa, conversion Luveniyali – 10-0
25min – PEN GOAL AIR PACIFIC FIJI WARRIORS, Luveniyali – 13-0
44min – PEN GOAL AIR PACIFIC FIJI WARRIORS, Luveniyali – 16-0
47min – TRY TAUTAHI GOLD, Fangupo, conversion Apikotoa – 16-7
54min – TRY TAUTAHI GOLD, Tupou, conversion Apikotoa (missed) – 16-12
64min – TRY AIR PACIFIC FIJI WARRIORS, Nasiga, conversion Luveniyali (missed) – 21-12
83min – TRY TAUTAHI GOLD, Havea, conversion Apikotoa – 21-19
86min – PEN GOAL TAUTAHI GOLD, Apikotoa (missed) – 21-19
Full-time Updated Table Fixtures 2008 Air Pacific Fiji Barbarians Profiles 2008 Air Pacific Fiji Warriors Profiles