The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua has booked a spot in the Top 8 of the Super Rugby Pacific after thumping Queensland Reds 41-17 in a thrilling Round 15 encounter at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva on Saturday.
The win sees Drua record a bonus point win and maintain their unbeaten run in the capital city through the support of the 10,000-plus crowd on the match day.
The Reds had an unfortunate kick- off in the match under the slippery and wet conditions.
Drua was awarded a scrum which Frank Lomani fed but Teti Tela could not hold onto the ball while trying to pass to Eroni Sau on the right.
The visitors secured the scrum this time which Tate McDermott fed and was taken away by James O’Connor and he passed it down to flyer Filipo Daugunu, who opted for a long kick but an unmarked Selestino Ravutaumada charged down and dived over to score in the 4th minute.
Fly-half Caleb Muntz converted for a 7-nil lead.
Two minutes later, the Reds gave a timely response when Zane Nonggor dropped the ball in the mid-way play but Ryan Smith picked and quickly recycled the ball and touched down.
O’Connor kicked the conversion to level the scores at 7-7 in the 10th minute.
The Drua kept fighting hard when Lomani went over to Muntz, who threw a loose pass which Tela lobbed a wide cross to outside Kalaveti Ravouvou and he scored in the corner in the 19th minute but Muntz failed to convert.
Matt Faessler pulled the second try for the Reds after he recycled the ball at the back of the ruck and picked it up finding no Drua players and dived over to score and Connor converted to give the Reds a 14-12 lead for the first time in the match.
In the 28th minute, Drua gave away a penalty to the Reds which O’Connor booted to extend the lead to 17-12.
Minutes before the break, an Iosefo Masi kick was picked up by Muntz and he switched it back to Masi, who dummied Suliasi Vinivalu and flicked it to Vilive Miramira, who crashed onto the try line in the 37th minute.
However, Muntz failed to convert before Lomani fell short in the penalty as both teams settled for a 17-17 tie at the break.
The Reds remained scoreless throughout the second half while Drua was awarded a penalty and this time Lomani kicked it between the uprights before the Reds were reduced to 14 players when McReight copped a yellow card for a foul play in the 47th minute.
Drua brought the ball down the maul and hooker Tevita Ikanivere broke away from the back finding huge prop Mesake Doge, who drove over in the heavy traffic and touched down in the 53rd minute.
Lomani smashed the kick through the middle giving Drua a 27-17 lead.
Ikanivere came charging through and grabbed a Reds lineout on the first bounce and sliced through the opponents to score and again Lomani slotted the conversion.
in the 70th minute, Head coach Mick Byrne made four changes fielding in Micheal Naitokani, Samuela Tawake, Elia Canakaivata and Peni Matawalu in place of Masi, try scorers Doge, Sau and Skipper Meli Derenalagi in the 58th minute.
six minutes to full-time, Joseva Tamani intercepted the ball from the Reds forward close to the ruck and ran under the post while Kemu Valetini converted to seal the win.