Highlanders Win

What happened: It was a good start in the opening round of the 2015 Skipper Cup competition at the ANZ Stadium last night. A good crowd watched Naitasiri defeat defending
23 May 2015 08:06
Highlanders Win
Referee Kaveni Talemaivavalagi (left), awards Naitasiri flanker Inoke Tuisese a try against Nadroga in the opening round of the Skipper Cup competition at ANZ Stadium in Suva last night. Photo: Jona Konataci

What happened: It was a good start in the opening round of the 2015 Skipper Cup competition at the ANZ Stadium last night.

A good crowd watched Naitasiri defeat defending champions BLK Nadroga 16-13.

With the new leadership of Reverend Joji Rinakama, the Highlanders started well  giving their best in front of their crowd  who turned up in numbers to give their support.

Laced with experience players like Inoke Tuisese, Atuinasa Turagaiviu and flyhalf Etonia Ravatukawa, the Highlanders enjoyed most possessions in the first-half.

The defending champions had numerous chances but continuously failed committing basic errors and kept on giving penalties away. This allowed Naitasiri flyhalf Ravatukawa to kick a penalty in the 20th minute and extend the lead with the second penalty in the 26th minute.

Nadroga replied with a penalty through former national 7s rep Mitieli Nacagilevu in the 30th minute. This did not deter the courageous Naitasiri side as they were able to penetrate the Nadroga defence and scored the first try of the season through experienced Inoke Tuisese who bulldozed his way through the Nadroga forwards and was hard to stop. The try was converted by Ravatukawa.

Half-time: Highlanders 13-3 Nadroga.

Naitasiri continued their dominance in the second-half as they were able to counter the current champions in all aspects of the game. Nadroga only just had to blame themselves with silly mistakes which cost them the game.

The Highlanders executed their game plan well and gained another extra three points in the 48th minute after Ravatukawa kicked another penalty.

Nadroga replied with their second penalty in the 61st minute.  Naitasiri played a brilliant defensive game denying Nadroga possessions. But Nadroga’s Ratunaisa Naruma managed to  score their lone try a minute from  fulltime which was converted by Nacagilevu.

Big play: Naitasiri should commended with their stern defence.

Star turn: Nadroga showed strong defence in the opening first-half but the Highlanders managed to find their way out get two penalties and one try at halftime.

Comments: Naitasiri head coach Reverend Joji Rinakama said their game plan worked.

“I must acknowledge the hard work of our new players. They really did a good job and our game plan was to deny Nadroga possessions,

“This is a good start for us and with the players we have in our squad there will be a change in Naitasiri in this new season.”

BLK Nadroga head coach Esala Nauga said his players did not play according to plan.

“I think that is one of our weaknesses. But these players are young and new and this was also one way to try out my new players when most of our senior players are away for national duties,

“One area that we will work on the next round is our breakdown.”

Today: 3pm Namosi-Lautoka (Thomson Park)

3pm Nadi-Tailevu (Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori);

3pm Northland-Vatukoula (Thedore Park);

3pm Ovalau-Macuata (Nasau Park);

3pm Tavua-Suva (Garvey Park).



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