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Ikanivere sees red as Drua outclass Force

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua registered their third straight home win of the season in Lautoka today, beating the Western Force 31-13 despite losing Captain Tevita Ikanivere to a red card late in the first half.

The Mick Byrne coached side was ruthless in the encounter and worked overtime to ensure they stayed consistent on home soil.

The visitors opened the scoring at a wet and soggy Churchill Park through winger Tom Horton in who dived over off the back of a rolling maul that started just inside their 22, created by a turnover penalty from Carlo Tizzano in the second minute.

Winger Epeli Momo levelled the scores in the 11th minute by diving in the corner and scoring a brilliant try.

Scrumhalf Frank Lomani, playing his 50th Super Rugby match, caught the Force off guard with a quick tap and set up winger Selesitino Ravutaumada to score in the corner in the 16th minute.

Young flyhalf Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula converted to give the Drua a 12-5 lead.

Drua Number 8 Elia Canakaivata was yellow carded in the 20th minute for a high cleanout on Nic White in the build-up.

Despite a player short on the field, Drua continued to apply the pressure and Armstrong-Ravula successfully kicked penalties in the 24th and 31st minute to extend their lead to 18-5.

Ikanivere was yellow carded in the 29th minute for a head contact in a tackle and the Force managed to score just before the break through towering winger Chase Tiatia to narrow the gap at 18-10.

As the second half commenced, the match officials following a review of Ikanivere’s tackle, ruled that the yellow card be upgraded to a red card, meaning that he could not play further part in the match and the Drua had to continue with 14 players for another 20 minutes before they could bring in a replacement.

With no hooker on the field, Zuriel Togiatama had to come on and flanker Kitione Salawa was sacrificed for 20 minutes while Mesake Doge took over as the Captain on the field.

Armstrong-Ravula’s grubber kick in the 42nd minute saw Iosefo Masi make a perfect chase and touch the ball down for Drua’s third try of the match, which was successfully converted by the initiator.

Ben Donaldson kicked a penalty in the 47th minute to narrow the scores to 25-13 but the Fijians were determined to keep the momentum going and continued to press on.

Armstrong-Ravula kicked two further penalties successfully in the 53rd and 58th minute to pile more pressure on the Force.

Nadroga youngster Waqa Nalaga was introduced in the 63rd minute for his Super Rugby Pacific debut while Samuela Tawake took the field in place of Doge.

Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Simione Kuruvoli and Taniela Rakuro also got game time as Drua sustained all the pressure in the last ten minutes of the encounter to hang on and claim victory.

Drua will play the Rebels in their next match in Melbourne on Friday while the Force will head to New Zealand to face the Blues in Round 7.

Drua (1-15): Haereiti Hetet, Tevita Ikanivere, Mesake Doge, Mesake Vocevoce, Leone Rotuisolia, Etonia Waqa, Kitione Salawa, Elia Canakaivata, Frank Lomani, Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Epeli Momo, Apisalome Vota, Iosefo Masi, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Droasese.

Reserves- Zuriel Togiatama, Livai Natave, Samuela Tawake, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Motikiai Murray, Simione Kuruvoli, Waqa Nalaga, Taniela Rakuro.

Force (1-15): Ryan Coxon, Tom Horton, Santiago Medrano, Thomas Franklin, Lopeti Faifua, Tim Anstee, Carlo Tizzano, Reed Prinsep, Nic White (c), Ben Donaldson, Chase Tiatia, Hamish Stewart, Sam Spink, Bayley Kuenzle, Harry Potter.

Reserves- Ben Funnell, Josh Bartlett, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Sam Carter, Ollie Callan, Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, Max Burey, George Poolman.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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