Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Drua suffers first home loss of the season

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua suffered their first home loss of the season after going down 30-14 to the Blues in Round 10 of Super Rugby Pacific at Churchill Park in Lautoka on Saturday.

The hosts matched the more superior opponents in the first quarter of the match and kept them score-less.

Blues Captain Dalton Papalii won a turnover but Soane Vikena knocked it forward in the 12th minute.

Fullback Ilaisa Droasese found some space in the middle of the field but he was dragged down on the 22 metre line by Adrian Choat two minutes later.

Blues set the maul and they crept forward as Finlay Christie fed the ball to Harry Plummer but he was handled well by the Drua forwards.

Referee T Ben O’Keeffe awarded a penalty to the Blues in the 25th minute and star fly-half  Beauden Barrett got the first points of the afternoon with his kick.

Outside centre Reiko Ioane used his power and speed to crash over for the first try of the match three minutes later and Barrett converted for a 10-0 lead.

Two minutes later, Blues secured another penalty after Samuela Tawake was found guilty of not rolling away from a tackle.

Plummer successfully converted the penalty to extend the lead by 13-0 before the hosts hit back with a well executed try as winger Salesitino Ravutaumada powered on before being tackled down but a quick recycle of the ball found Number 8 Elia Canakaivata in space to dive and score the first try for the Drua.

Teti Tela converted to narrow the gap.

Just at the stroke of half time, Plummer made a good break and set up Cameron Suafoa who powered his way to the try-line and in the process dragged three Drua players with him to the try-line.

Barrett’s conversion gave the Blues an impressive 20-7 lead at the breather.

Drua arm wrestled hard to make a comeback in the second stanza but all efforts of scrumhalf Frank Lomani and Tela went to waste when they were frequently brought down by the Blues defenders.

Head coach Mick Byrne made four changes, fielding Chris Minimbi, Peni Matawalu, Apisalome Vota and Emosi Tuiqiri in place of Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Samuela Tawake, Hereti Hetet and Lomani to add more firepower.

A set-piece play from Mark Telea and Ioane in the 50th minute saw the skipper Papalii bulldoze his way and dot down for the Blues.

Barrett booted the conversion to further extend their lead by 27-7.

Blues coach Leon McDonald made three quick changes, sending in Sam Nock, Bryce Heem and AJ Lam in place of try scorers Christie, Papalii and Plummer.

In the 66th minute, Canakaivata bagged his second try after Selestino Ravutaumada caught a line out and back flicked it to the hard-working former Fiji 7s star who dived at the corner to score.

Coming off the bench, in place of Tela, Kemu Valetini slotted the conversion successfully.

A few minutes later, Drua gave away another penalty to the Blues and Barrett again kicked successfully for a 30-14 lead.

Drua applied some good pressure late in the match and scored a try through Iosefo Masi was was ruled out by the match officials as there was a forward pass and the referee had blown the whistle, before Ravutaumada broke away to set up Masi.

The teams:

Drua: Haereiti Hetet, Tevita Ikanivere (c), Samuela Tawake (Emosi Tuqiri), Isoa Nasilasila, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta (Chris Minimbi), Vilive Miramira (Joseva Tamani), Kitione Salawa, Elia Canakaivata, Frank Lomani (Peni Matawalu), Teti Tela (Kemu Valetini), Eroni Sau (Apisalome Vota), Kalaveti Ravouvou, Iosefo Masi, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Droasese.

Blues: Ofa Tuungafasi, Soane Vikena, Marcel Renata, Cameron Suafoa, Sam Darry, Adrian Choat, Dalton Papalii (c) (Bryce Heem), Hoskins Sotutu, Finlay Christie (Sam Nock), Beauden Barrett, Caleb Clarke, Harry Plummer (AJ Lam), Rieko Ioane, Mark Telea, Zarn Sullivan.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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