Monday, April 15, 2024
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Fijiana in Super W semifinal despite huge loss

Defending champions and Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua have qualified for the semifinal of the Super W Competition despite their huge 45-22 loss to Queensland Reds at Scifleet Stadium on Sunday.

The Reds took advantage of an unsettled Fijiana in the opening minute of the match and shed the first blood through Carola Kreis following a set-piece play from Alana Elisaia and former Saint Joseph Secondary School sprint queen Heleina Young but Cecelia Smith failed to convert.

Six minutes later, Karalaini Naisewa tried to put Fijiana on the scoreboard but she was tackled down by Captain Shannon Parry near the try line and the Reds overturned the ball.

No later, Fijiana snatched the ball from the Reds players and it was powerful prop Siteri Rasolea, who bulldozed through the Reds’ defence and scored in the 18th minute.

Livia Naidei converted to give Drua a 7-5 lead for the first time in the match.

A minute later, Drua struck again when Doreen Narokete picked up a loose ball and crossed it to Litia Marama as she dived to score but Merevesi Ofakimalino failed to convert.

Drua was reduced to 14 players when prop Bitila Tawake was sin-binned in the 24th minute for a dangerous foul which gave Reds a scrum but they lost the ball in the play.

After some intense arm wrestling, Young and Ivania Wong put on a strong power play and combined to send an unmarked Haidee Head to score for the Reds and Smith converted to equalise at 12-12 in the 33rd minute.

Minutes before the break, Head inflicted a pass to Alana Elisaia and she sliced through the Drua defence to score.

Smith converted to give the Reds a 19-12 lead at half time.

Drua came out strong in the second spell desperate for a win and Merewai Cumu sneaked the ball away from Mereoni Nakesa and barged over the try line but Ofakimalino failed to convert.

The Reds gave an immediate response through Parry and Smith slotted the conversion before Drua was again reduced to 14 players when Ani Mei Likuvaqali was sin-binned for foul play.

The Reds continued to take advantage of the situation and scored back-to-back tries from Smith and Young, pulling her first Super W try.

Smith added the conversions for a 38-17 lead in the 55th minute.

Drua re-grouped and it was Vani Arei that got the side back in the match with a try as she crashed through the Reds’ defence and touched down but Wainikiti Vosadrau failed to convert.

Coming off the bench in place of Carys Dallinge, Ellie Draper scored the consolation try for the Reds and Smith booted the conversion to seal the win.

Fijiana will face NSW Waratahs in the second semifinal next week.

The teams:

Fijiana Drua: Bitila Tawake, Litia Marama, Siteri Rasolea, Mereoni Nakesa, Asinate Serevi, Doreem Narokete, Sulita Waisega, Karalaini Naisewa, Setaira Railumu, Ani Mei Likuvaqali, Unaisi Tagabale, Merewai Cumu, Vani Arei, Laisani Moceisawana, Lavenia Tinai.

Queensland Reds: Bree-Anna Cheatham, Cristo Tofa, Alapeta Ngauamo, Deni Ross, Annabelle Codey, Carola Kreis, Shannon Parry (c), Haidee Head, Diane Hiini, Carys Dallinger, Ivania Wong, Alana Elisaia, Briana Dascombe, Helena Young, Renae Nona.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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