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Toolan Rates Fijian Drua

Toolan Rates Fijian Drua
Fiji Airways Fijian Drua second five-eight Cyril Reece on the attack against Melbourne Rising. Photo; Ronald Kumar
September 02
10:25 2018

The Fiji Airways Fijian Drua rugby side opened their 2018 Australian National Rugby Championship (NRC) on a high note when they thrashed Melbourne Rising 40-17 at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori yesterday.

Rising head coach Eoin Toolan con­ceded defeat and said comparing the Drua team from last year, they have improved their defence and would be one of the hardest team to beat.

What happened: Rising drew first blood with a try to Melbourne Re­bels captain Tom English with the conversion from Harrison Goddard going over for a 7-0 lead.

Back by the vocal crowd of close to 3000 Drua prop Luke Tagi broke through the Rising defence and gave space for wing Levani Kurumdu to score with Apisalome Waqatabu add­ing the extras from the conversion as they were levelled 7-7.

The Fijians maintained possession and first five eight Alivereti Veitoka­ni found a gap in the Rising defence and zig-zagged his way through exchanging passes with halfback Frank Lomani before finding his way over the tryline with Waqata­bu’s conversion successful.

Halftime: Fijian Drua 14-7 Mel­bourne Rising

The Drua maintained possession at the kick-off before Waqatabu broke away to score their third try, which was not converted as they held a handy 19-7.

Rising replied in the 55th minute with a try to Justin Master to narrow the deficit at 19-12.

Drua head coach Senirusi Seru­vakula brought in veteran Serupepe­li Vularika and Mosese Ducuvaki as they ran in two tries- John Dyer and Vularika both converted by Vei­tokani as they extended their lead to 33-12.

A brilliant show of skills from Vei­tokani after charging down a Kiti Ratu clearance on the tryline saw him tapped the ball back for burly winger Avete Daveta to pounce on for their final try with the conver­sion making it 40-12.

Rising replied with English scoring his second try which was not con­verted by Kemu Valetini.

Comments: Fijian Drua coach Se­nirusi Seruvakula said: “The props really stepped-up, Luke Tagi and Tuvere Vugakoto. The confidence of the team kept building and play­ing against front rows in the Super Rugby, so that has been good for us.

“I told the boys that they needed to go out and keep on playing to our rhythm.”

Melbourne Rising coach Toolan said; “We gave away simple turnovers and that what really hurt us badly.

“We will need to go back and work on our restart and avoid giving the ball away. The Fijian defence have been exceptional and they are well organised and one the hardest team to the breakdown.”

SCORERS

Drua 40- Tries: Kurumudu, Veitoka­mi, Waqatabu, Vularika, Dyer, Dav­eta; Cons: Waqatabu 2, Waqanibau

Rising 17- Tries: English 2, Masters; Cons: Goddard.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: karalaini.tavi@fijisun.com.fj

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