June 25, 2022
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Volavola penalty secures win for Nadroga

Fullback Jack Volavola kicked a late penalty to snatch the Inkk Farebrother trophy from Nadi as Nadroga posted a 20-19 thrilling victory at Prince Charles Park today.

The match started with a bang and Nadroga broke through midfield with winger Jiutasa Nave putting in a well weighted kick to bounce favourably for Volavola who scored in the corner in the second minute.

The conversion attempt by Volavola swayed away as Nadi kept its composure and brought their big forwards into play.

A lineout just inside the Nadroga 22 metre line saw them bring their trump maul into play, and rumble their way to the five metre line.

Continous pick and drives from the forwards paid off with openside flanker Ilisoni Galala crashing over in the corner to score and level with fullback Tevita Mociu unable to convert for the lead in the 10th minute.

Nadroga clawed their way once again into the Nadi 22 metre line but were let down by the throw floating not straight.

The Stallions almost stole the resulting scrum but were penalized for a technicality in the scrum allowing Mociu to clear the ball away from their line for some breathing space.

Nadroga attacked again, seeming to have more urgency from the contesting sides, stringing together some great attacks they forced a penalty from right in front, after catching the hosts offside.

The challengers opted for a lineout on the five metre and after winning the toss, openside flanker Jioji Kunavula broke through untouched to race away under the sticks with Volavola adding the conversion in the 22nd minute.

Nadi dug deep again and resorted to their strength up front once more.

With more patient play, the blue machine again stuck together more than 15 phases of continuous pick and drive from the 22 metre to the tryline allowing Navitalai Druaiono to score and Mociu leveled the scores with 38 minites gone.

In injury time, Nadi opted for a scrum feed only to have their pack demolished, giving away a penalty.

Nadroga reset the scrum and halfback Taitusi Lulusini pounced on the ball to slip through Druaiono’s tackle to score and restore the lead for Nadroga.

Volavola's conversion put Nadroga ahead 17-12 at halftime.

The game restarted with both teams aiming to empty their tanks with the final 40 minutes of the challenge underway.

Nadroga again proved their dominance in the scrum winning a penalty on the Nadi 10 metre line from right in front but Volavola was unable to convert the opportunity into points.

Nadi’s first attacking chance of the half was turned over in midfield, but the ball popped up on the Nadroga side with quick ball out from Lulusini and a kick downtown, saw the chasers force Mociu to knock the ball on inside his own 22 metre line.

Nadroga attacked off the back of the scrum and rumbled through some lazy tackling only to be held up, but went back to the five metre line for the offside advantage.

Nadroga failed to execute their scrum, and Nadi flanker Jolame Luvevou timed the attack well to get over the ball first and win a penalty giving the holders some breathing space.

Nadroga were hindered to one man down, with winger Taniela Rakuro being sent off for a late hit, and Nadi capitalized immediately with some quick passing to allow reserve prop Peceli Ratu crash over to score with Mociu adding the two points to give them the lead in the 54th minute.

Nadi was also reduced to 14 players when reserve centre Aminio Naseyara was sin-binned for a head high tackle, and Volavola kicked the ball out for a lineout inside the Nadi 22 metre with less than 30 minutes to go.

Nadroga skipper Ratunaisa Navuma looked to have crashed over under the sticks after numerous hammer and anvil play but the stern defence from Nadi held the ball up in play.

The Stallions won their most crucial penalty close to 40 metres out from the far right, and Volavola backed his chance with a shot at goal.

He curled the ball beautifully, allowing it go between the sticks and regain their lead which stayed till the final hooter, giving Nadroga the coveted Sullivan Farebrother trophy.

The teams:

Nadi- 1.Tomasi Nawaqa 2.Viliame Tui 3.Josua Kotobalavu 4.Sitiveni Yabaki 5.Sivaniolo Lumelume 6.Jolame Luvevou 7.Ilisoni Galala 8.Veniona Vuki 9.Navitalai Druaiono 10. Semesa Muadonu 11.Solomoni Tavai 12.Vilive Aria 13.Eseroma Nabalawa 14.Jiutasa Nave 15.Tevita Mociu 16.Peceli Ratu 17. Kenneth Delai 18.Joseva Nadolo 19. Aporosa Saukuru 20.Jaoji Koroimataitini 21.Jiuta Muatabu 22. Orisi Erenavula 23.Aminio Naseyara.

Nadroga-1.Aisake Atani 2.Ratunaisa Navuma 3.Taniela Vatunicoko 4.Orisi Navavau 5.Josaia Cokaibusa 6.Jiuta Biau 7. Jioji Kunavula 8.Eremasi Radrodro 9.Taitusi Lulusinu 10.Peni Kedralevu 11.Jone Dukumoi 12.Maikeli Naitokani 13.Eseroma Rikou 14.Taniela Rakuro 15.Jacko Volavola 16.Manoa Mocelutu 17.Simione Bulai 18.Ilaitia Sela 19.Napolioni Bakewa 20.Sakiusa Vosayaco 21.Lilo Vasuivalu 22.Apimeleki Nabore 23.Panapasas Qeruqeru.

By Noa Biudole

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