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Sam Matavesi, Ratuniyarawa In Saints Debut

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians hooker Sam Matavesi played an influential role alongside Apisalome Ratuniyarawa and Taqele Naiyaravoro in the Northampton Saints’ 32-20 win over Benetton in the Champions Cup yesterday.
14 Jan 2020 15:34
Sam Matavesi, Ratuniyarawa In Saints Debut

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians hooker Sam Matavesi played an influential role alongside Apisalome Ratuniyarawa and Taqele Naiyaravoro in the Northampton Saints’ 32-20 win over Benetton in the Champions Cup yesterday.

The trio stood out in the game showing the Fijian flair time and again, with Matavesi particularly aggressive during the breakdowns.

Naiyaravoro, who scored last week, was a constant threat in attack, spectacularly offloading for fullback Harry Mallinder who powered over to score in the first-half.

Northampton’s dominance looked to have paid off again when Ollie Sleightholme touched down before the half-hour mark, but James Grayson’s looping pass was judged to have drifted forward.

With Benetton scrum-half Charly Trussardi in the sin-bin, Saints, who lost five line-outs in the opening 40 minutes, failed to make their numerical advantage count and the Italians capitalised with an intercept try by Benvenuti.

Scrum-half Taylor’s score four minutes after the interval looked to have settled the hosts’ nerves but hooker Hame Faiva bundled over to edge Benetton back ahead and Tommaso Allan then kicked a penalty to cancel out prop Van Wyk’s score.

Centre Dingwall hit a gap to guarantee the bonus point with eight minutes remaining, before Symons added a fifth try late on.

Northampton’s director of rugby Chris Boyd told BT Sport: “I apologise to everyone for that performance, a horrible game and I thought we were terrible. The lure of getting five points at home was too much for us at times.

“A dreadful performance. There is no point reviewing that on Monday, we’ll get on and prepare for Lyon.”

Edited by Sheldon Chanel

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj

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