Hardworking flanker Ioane Ligatabu scored a brace of tries in Suva’s huge 41-28 win over Macuata in Round 6 of the Skipper Cup at Albert Park today.
Suva took advantage of an unsettled Macuata pack through captain John Stewart as he intercepted the ball from the left edge and dived over in the corner to score but fly-half Enele Malele failed to convert in the third minute.
Three minutes later, Macuata received a penalty which captain Viliame Maiono beautifully slotted in between the uprights.
A collapsing scrum gave away another penalty to the northerners which Maiono took again and kicked and put them up for the first time in the match.
The capital city side however was able to soak up the pressure and replied with two back to back tries.
They kept pushing through the flanks and Ligatabu dummied through the Macuata defence and dived in the middle to make the conversion easy for Malele.
Fullback Samu Saqila closely followed a Macuata scrum play before fellow teammate and lock Kolinio Tamanitoakula found some space and sent him over to the right corner to score but the conversion attempt failed.
Soon after, Suva’s joy was cut short when they were reduced to 14 men on the field as Terio Tamani was flashed a yellow card for a foul play on Macuata’s Sekonaia Naitu near the Suva try line.
Macuata took advantage of the situation and was awarded a scrum which Ratu Meli Caniogo fed and Number Eight Viliame Lomaloma snapped away and barged over to score while Viliame Navanua converted.
Minutes before the break, Suva’s impressive number eight Mosese Naiova raced away to score their fourth try of the match.
The conversion attempt failed, yet Suva led by 22-13 at the break.
The hosts continued to maintain their strong dominance in the second half and again scored early through Isoa Tuwai, who broke off from a scrum and Macuata players failed to tackle him down.
Saqila took on the responsibility to boot the conversion in the 42nd minute.
Galloping down field, Epeli Misiamate produced an offload to substitute loose forward Peni Tuiteci and he crossed over for a try but the conversion failed.
Macuata was again awarded a penalty in the 49th minute which Maiono kicked to merge the scores at 34-16.
Following an infringement by Macuata forwards at the kick-off, Suva was given a scrum which former Fiji 7s star Livai Ikanikoda fed and an unmarked Ligatabu ran untouched right under the post to score and Saqila converted.
Macuata regrouped and scored two back-to-back tries through Fiji 7s utility Manueli Maisama and inside centre Viliame Kotoilakeba but Maiono converted once only.
In Round 7 next week, Suva will take on Namosi while Macuata will face Nadroga.