July 28, 2018
Fly-half Keni Douglas kicked a late penalty as Naitasiri defeated holders Namosi 21-20 to wrestle the HFC Farebrother Challenge trophy away from Thompson Park yesterday.
The second challenge of the season proved to be a closely contested affair with both teams displaying entertaining rugby.
Veteran Nasoni Roko scored the first try of the match for the visitors before Namosi fly-half Alivereti Veitokani scored a try and kicked a penalty to put his side up by 8-5.
Douglas kicked two penalties just before halftime as Naitasiri went to the break with an 11-8 lead.
Namosi Captain Mosese Voka dived in for their second try of the match early in the second half and this gave them a 13-11 lead.
Naitasiri replied with try to winger Vilikesa Qio and a successful conversion from halfback Frank Lomani saw them lead 18-13.
Right winger Asaeli Ratunaisa brilliantly finished off a well-set up move to score Namosi’s third try in the 64th minute and a successful conversion from halfback Seru Vularika put them in front 20-18.
A dangerous tackle by Captain Voka on Lomani saw him getting a red card and two other Namosi players and a Naitasiri player were shown yellow cards for getting into a scuffle after the illegal tackle.
The highlanders applied continuous pressure in the last five minutes of the match and Douglas rose to the occasion to seal the win after Namosi was penalized for not releasing a tackler, just a couple of metres away from the try-line.
Naitasiri will now face Nadroga in the next challenge.
By Reginald Chandar