Maroons Edge Northland
Much like RC Manubhai Suva had done in Round Two, Lautoka exposed and used Northland’s weaknesses to win their Round Three match of the 2015 Skipper Cup competition.
Getting off to a mellow start, both sides set a rather dreary pace of play as the first-half remained largely uneventful. This was until the Maroons pushed the host’s defence to the brink and earned themselves a penalty, successfully taken by first five-eighth Lepani Seduadua.
Northland answered back with a penalty of their own kicked by Ilimeleki Leiloma.
Half-time: Lautoka 3-3 Northland
The second-half resulted in renewed fighting spirit from Northland because they finally found footing, coming close multiple times. But basic handling errors cost them dearly, losing possession to the visitors over and over again.
Luck finally favoured Northland as the Maroons conceded a penalty which Leiloma gladly converted, taking his side up 6-3.
Their lead was short-lived as the visitors’ regained possession swiftly and took the lead from a try to Timoci Mikaele. Seduadua missed the conversion.
Star turn: Returning Telecom Fijian Warrior Sam Speight was awarded Man of the Match for playing a pivotal role in Lautoka’s win.
Big play: The Maroons proved too strong for Northland in the end, exposing their weak handling and discipline issues.
Comments: Lautoka team manager Timoci Namuaira, “The boys played well.
“We’re used to playing in dry weather so it was one of the challenges we faced here, just like with the game against Tailevu last week. But the boys came here with one thing on their mind and that was to play good rugby.
“We’ve got a lot of young, new players with no experience playing at the Skipper Cup level. And with the leadership of our coach Ifereimi Rawaqa, they were able to get this win and perform well.”
Northland team manager Maciu Koroi, “It was a good game and we kept the momentum right to the end. Unfortunately, we lost out towards the end.
“We didn’t use our chances well and that turned the game in favour of Lautoka in the end.”