Saturday, 25 September 2010
|Man of the match Aca Ratuva puts a big hit on Lautoka number eight Anthony Wise. |
Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka
MRecht Outrigger on the Lagoon Nadroga 13 (10)
Tries: Mitieli Nacagilevu Con: Mitieli Nacagilevu Pen: Mitieli Nacagilevu (2)
Lautoka 13 (6)
Try: Leone Nawalu Con: Taniela Rawaqa Pen: Taniela Rawaqa DG: Taniela Rawaqa
Referee: James Bolabiu
Kick Off: 3:01 PM
Conditions: Warm and sunny with some clound
Lautoka overcame a 10-6 halftime deficit to almost snatch the BSP Farebrother-Sullivan trophy from holders Nadroga at a dusty Lawaqa Park. In the end they came away with a 13-all draw and Nadroga, for the second time in the series, held on to the coveted trophy by the skin of their teeth.
The game started badly for Lautoka as fullback Taniela Rawaqa put the kick-off straight into touch. From the ensuing midfield scrum Nadroga broke away down the far side only for winger Sakiusa Navaka to spill the ball in the tackle with the Lautoka try line beckoning and the defense in all sorts of bother.
Then a moment of Lautoka indiscipline led to a penalty to the hosts which Mitieli Nacagilevu converted with nonchalant ease as the Stallions took a 3-nil lead with barely 2 minutes on the clock.
However Lautoka slowly found their groove and a period of sustained pressure enabled Rawaqa to level the scores with a well worked drop goal.
Former Flying Fijians winger Isoa Neivua was back to his beligerent best with a number of punishing runs. It was one such run in the 31st minute that led to the first try of the game.
Fielding a poor clearance from Rawaqa, Neivua collected the ball in midfield and blasted his way through the first would be tackler before handing off to centre Joeli Lutumailagi who darted down the touchline before putting in a chip for Nacagilevu to collect and score.
Nacagilevu then converted his own try as Nadroga stretched their lead to 10-3.
Just as it seemed as if Nadroga would impose their usual dominance on the game Lautoka earned themselves a penalty and Rawaqa made no mistake as he narrowed Lautoka’s deficit to just four points.
The teams went into the break with Nadroga leading 10-6.
Nadroga looked to once again impose their authority on the game straight after the breather as Emosi Vucago was pulled down five metres short, just two minutes into the half.
In the seventh minute a second Nacagilevu penalty extended Nadroga’s lead to 13-7.
With Lautoka inside centre Kelemedi Bola switching to his favoured scrumhalf position, during the second half, Lautoka grew in confidence as Bola began to dictate play from behind his toiling forward pack.
With replacement centre Meli Ravai also adding punch in midfield for the Sugar City players it didn’t take long for Lautoka to haul themselves back in the game.
Midway through the second half winger Eroni Ravaga could have scored twice for Lautoka as he was bundled into touch over the corner flag on both occasions. Though in the 22nd minute Lautoka got their just reward as winger Leone Nawalu went through the tackle of Sakiusa Navaka and claimed the try in the far corner. Rawaqa made no mistake with the touchline conversion as he leveled the scores 13-all.
However with the game winding down Lautoka needing to maintain possession but it was given away all too frequently as Nadroga showed discipline and character to present Lautoka with no further chances in the game.
In the end Nadroga probably deserved to hold on to the trophy – just - but the Maroons can return home with their heads held high.
Waiting for Nadroga next week is a date with destiny as the Highlanders – the Digicel Cup champions – come down the Queens Highway. At stake not only the BSP Farebrother-Sullivan trophy or provincial pride but the right to be called the best team in Fiji.
Nadroga versus Naitasiri next Saturday at 3:00PM – games don’t come any bigger than this.
1.Tiko Matawalu (c), 2.Seru Cakobau, 3.Penijamini Makutu, 4.Saimoni Vunilagi, 5.Iliesa Ratuva, 6.Etonia Naba, 7.Aca Ratuva, 8.Mosese Volavola, 9.Emosi Vucago, 10.Jonetani Ralulu, 11.Isoa Neivua, 12.Josaia Lotawa, 13.Joeli Lutumailagi, 14.Sakiusa Navaka, 15.Mitieli Nacagilevu
16.Jerry Naureure, 17.Setefano Somoca, 18.Rupeni Nasiga, 19.Nemani Nagusa, 20.Seveci Taka, 21.Paula Karatu, 22.Maikeli Mocetadra
1.Rupeni Naqiri, 2.Viliame Nabiau, 3.Peniona Ranitu (c), 4.Saimoni Tagitagivalu, 5.Taione Ratu, 6.Viliame Satala, 7.Setareki Ratatagia, 8.Anthony Wise, 9.Panapasa Namoko, 10.Moape Batinikeli, 11.Mitieli Kalou, 12.Kelemedi Bola, 13.Bill Wilson, 14.Eroni Ravaga, 15.Taniela Rawaqa
16.Viliame Satala Jnr, 17.Kalaveti Tawake, 18.Dominiko Nasilasila, 19.Ifereimi Naruma, 20.Meli Ravai, 21.Leone Nawalu, 22.Jaoji Dakuvula
MAN OF THE MATCH:
ACA RATUVA (Flanker – Nadroga) – Thoroughly deserved, continues to play his heart out for Nadroga and has been without a doubt the stand out player for the champions throughout the series so far.