Suva Trumps Northland
RC Manubhai Suva: 22 (Tries – Ratu Meli Kurusari 24th , Waqabaca Kotobalavu 52nd , 73rd . Penalty – Emosi Mulevoro)
Northland: 15 (Tries – Paula Balenaka 35th, Vaulo Rokotuiveikau 81st. Penalty – Ilimeleki Liloma)
The capital city side were on a mission to stay ahead of the pack and managed to suppress a spirited and determined Northland side to score their second victory in the 2015 Skipper Cup.
Battling wet and muddy conditions with a steady drizzle Suva and Northland tussled for possession over the first 20 minutes until the visitors drew first blood with a try to Ratu Meli Kurusari in the 24th minute.
Vodafone Fijian 7s playmaker Emosi Mulevoro kicked his team into the lead with a successful conversion and followed up shortly with a penalty to give them a 10-0 advantage.
Paula Balenaka brought the hosts into the game with a try in the 35th minute, Ilimeleki Liloma missing the conversion to keep Northland at 5-10 going into halftime.
Suva extended their lead going into the second-half with Waqabaca Kotobalavu skillfully evading a stern defence to score twice in the 52nd minute, converted by Mulevoro, and then again in the 73rd minute to put Suva almost out of certain reach 22-5.
However, a valiant try from Vaulo Rokotuiveikau in the 81st minute paired with a conversion and penalty from Liloma saw Northland come close enough to give Suva last minute fright with final score sitting at 22-15.
Star turn: Kotobalavu utilised his teammates support to break through the sturdy Northland defence and put his side well ahead in the final minutes.
Big play: Northland must be commended for fielding a largely inexperienced team that managed to stand against the might of Suva.
RC Manubhai Suva head coach Salimoni Ravouvou, “It was a good game. We had wanted that bonus point but Northland proved strong. Northland is always strong at their home ground as is any other team playing at home and we enjoyed it.”
Northland head coach Seremaia Baleisomosomo, “We’re still building up our team because most of the players have never experienced Skipper Cup competition. I’m proud of them though for being able to stand their own against a strong, top team like Suva.”