|Barbarians' trio Filipe Kuruvoli, Vima Tuidraki and Mosese Fatiaki on the charge during their IRB Pacific Rugby Cup clash against the Tau'uta Reds on Saturday. The Fiji Barbarians won 25-24. |
The Air Pacific Fiji Barbarians escaped with a 25-24 victory over Tau’uta Reds of Tonga on Saturday when replacement fullback Apisalome Waqatabu scored a try in the corner in the 91st minute and reserve fly-half Amani Bosenawai kicked the conversion from the touchline to secure what had looked like an unlikely win.
The visitors, still winless this season, dominated most facets of play, especially in the first half when they enjoyed nearly all possession and territory. The Reds looked much more organised in the set pieces but didn’t convert enough of their possession into points.
After half an hour, the Tongans led 12-0 through tries from tight-head prop Otules Fifita and scrumhalf Enele Taufa.
But the Barbars pulled one back just before half-time through a breakaway try from with Highlanders wing Ropate Ratu to narrow the deficit to 12-5.
The second half was a bit to-and-fro. The Barbars pulled back three points through a penalty to Bosenawai, but Tonga’s hefty No.8 and captain, Lotu Filipine, forced his way over in the 57th minute for the first of his two tries to extend the visitors’ lead to 19-8.
Minutes later, Barbars’ No.8 Josefa Nagatalevu did marvelously well to get through to the line, and Bosenawai clipped over the conversion to put the hosts within striking distance; and when Bosenawai picked up another penalty goal in the 74th minute, it was game on at 18-19.
Filipine appeared to have sealed matter for the Reds with his second try of the half, but fly-half Vaea Poteki missed the conversion, which proved crucial in the end as Sharks duo Waqatabu and Bosenawai combined in the dying seconds to conjure up a dramatic 25-24 victory. Quotes: Eddie Waqa
(Air Pacific Fiji Barbarians coach):
“I am very happy with the win. We came out here to win and prove all our critics wrong, and I’m proud of the way the boys stood up today. I must admit I was not happy with the way some people were throwing remarks around to count us out and I felt this did more damage to the team than the losses. And to have that come from people who were supposed to behind us was disheartening, and I am grateful to the boys for putting those things behind them and coming out here in Lawaqa to score the win.”
“This win should be a good motivator for the boys. It should help the boys realise they could also win. In saying that, I hope they will maintain and even improve their game in the last rounds.” On their next game against the Tautahi Gold:
“It should be a great game. The Gold will be out to avenge their loss to the Warriors in their opening game in Lautoka and I am sure playing at their home ground next week, they will give it everything. Sione Fetuani
(Tau’uta Reds coach):
“It was heartbreaking to lead for most of the game and then have it taken away from us at full-time. After the two losses, we came here today to win. The boys gave their best I could tell but I still felt it was not what I know they are capable of.”
“I congratulate the Barbars for the win. Like us they were also out here to win. I think that compared to us they continued to fight until the end.” On their next game against the Fiji Warriors:
“I think after today we will go into the game against the Warriors mindful that we cannot underestimate them. It will be a good encounter and we will definitely be going out for a win. The losses are not doing any good to our reputable runners-up finish last year, and as a coach I would at least like to show a glimpse of that this season.” Ilivasi Tabua
(Fiji head coach):
“I think we are seeing a glimpse of the true Fiji Barbarians team. They are a group of talented boys and are beginning to perform to the standard we knew they were capable of when we selected the team. They have made amends after the two losses and I think they can do even better.” Highlanders' speedster, Ropate Ratu dives in for the Air Pacific Fiji Barbarians opening try. AIR PACIFIC FIJI BARBARIANS:
15 Isimeli Koniferedi (Apisalome Waqatabu 80), 14 Ropate Ratu, 13 Tikiko Uluiviti, 12 Jimi Mule, 11 Vima Tuidraki, 10 Ravai Fatiaki (Amani Bosenawai 31), 9 Kelemedi Bola (capt) (Nemia Kenatale 84), 8 Josefa Nagatalevu (Setefano Somoca 50-59, Aca Bibi 78), 7 Ameniasi Nava, 6 Mitieli Cama, 5 Moses Fatiaki, 4 Joeli Lutumailagi (Filipe Kuruvoli 82), 3 Isikeli Gavidi (yellow card 40-49), 2 Aseri Buli (Setefano Somoca 90), 1 Sakeo Latianara Coach
: Eddie Waqa Tries:
Ratu, Nagatalevu, Waqatabu; Conversions:
Bosenawai (2); Penalty goals
: Bosenawai (2) TAU’UTA REDS:
15 Tupou Palu, 14 Ualosi Kailea, 13 Ofa Takai, 12 Sione Masima, 11 Salesi Havili (Sione Tu’akoi 75), 10 Vaea Poteki, 9 Enele Taufa, 8 Lotu Filipine (capt), 7 Afele Tongia (Makonni Finau 81), 6 Kelepi Halafihi (yellow card 62-71, Saia Taufalele 72), 5 Sione Tamani (Saia Taufalele 52-63), 4 Isileli Fine (Jack Ram 47*-41), 3 Sateki Mata’u (Siua Halanukonuka 63), 2 Atelea Hu’akau, 1 Otules Fifita
Not used: Taniela Te’ekafa, Sikalele ‘Ahoafi Coach:
Sione Fetuani Tries:
Filipine (2), Fifita, Taufa; Conversions:
Poteki (2) Scoring sequence
(Barbarians’ scores shown first
3min – PEN GOAL REDS, Poteki (missed) – 0-0
14min – TRY REDS, Fifita; conversion Poteki (missed) – 0-5
30min – TRY REDS, Taufa; conversion Poteki – 0-12
42min – TRY BARBARS, Ratu; conversion Bosenawai (missed) – 5-12
47min – Yellow card Barbars, Gavidi
53min – PEN GOAL BARBARS, Bosenawai – 8-12
57min – TRY REDS, Filipine; conversion Poteki – 8-19
62min – Yellow card Reds, Halafihi
64min – TRY BARBARS, Nagatalevu; conversion Bosenawai – 15-19
74min – PEN GOAL BARBARS, Bosenawai – 18-19
79min – TRY REDS, Filipine; conversion Poteki (missed) – 18-24
91min – TRY BARBARS, Waqatabu; conversion Bosenawai – 25-24
Updated Table Fixtures 2008 Air Pacific Fiji Barbarians Profiles 2008 Air Pacific Fiji Warriors Profiles