Fijian winger Timoci Tavatavanawai scored a try in Moana Pasifika’s seventh loss in Super Rugby Pacific on Friday as they went down 38-21 to the Crusaders 38-21 in a hard fought battle.
The defending champions got early on the scoreboard when Richie Mo’unga who played his 100th game for Crusaders slotted a penalty before Captain Codie Taylor scored the first try in the match and Mo’unga converted for a 10-0 lead .
After an intense 11 minutes of battle, Moana finally scored their first try in the match through Levi Aumua and Lincoln McClutchie converted to merge the scores at 10-7.
Soon after, the Crusaders were down to 14 players when match official James Doleman flashed a yellow card to Corey Kellow for foul play and Moana took advantage with Aumua scoring their second try and McClutchie converted to give the side a 14-10 lead for the first time in the match.
Taylor tried to bring Crusaders back in the game with a try and Mo’unga converted but an offload from Aumua to Tavatavanawai saw him step through the last line of defence and got over the try line.
McClutchie converted as Moana led by 21-17 at the break.
In the second spell, Moana was reduced to 14 players as Michael Curry was sin-binned for foul play and they failed to score any points.
The Crusaders got back to lead through Dominic Gardiner, Dallas McLeod and substitute Willi Heinz while Mo’unga converted to seal the comeback win.