July 29, 2017
A 14-man Suva outfit wrestled the HFC Bank Farebrother Challenge trophy from Nadroga at Lawaqa Park today after posting a 24-23 victory in a nail-biting clash.
The Capital City side matched the Stallions in all facets of play despite losing Samuela Bola to a red card in the 31st minute.
Nadroga took an early 5-0 lead through a Mitieli Nacagilevu try but tries by Captain John Stewart and Isake Katonibau and two successful penalties from fullback Ratu Meli Kurisaru gave the visitors a 16-5 halftime lead.
Fullback Apisalome Waqatabu kicked two penalties early in the second half to narrow the scores to only 5 points.
Kurisaru kicked another penalty successfully for Suva before Nadroga hit back and scored its second try of the challenge through Number 8 Jone Navori, and this narrowed the scores to 19-16.
Centre Eroni Vasiteri dived in for Nadroga’s third try in the 76th minute and the successful conversion from Waqatabu gave the hosts the lead for the first time in the match as they went ahead 23-19.
Winger Eroni Sau snatched the winner for Suva in the 81st minute after diving in the corner.
Captain Stewart was named the Player of the Challenge and returned home $200 richer.
Suva will host Namosi in the third challenge next Saturday in the capital.
By Reginald Chandar