ANALYSIS: The King Had The Last Laugh

Maori King Tuheitia had the last laugh at the ANZ Stadium. Just like his fellow countrymen who staged a late fightback to edge the Vodafone Flying Fijians 27-26 after being
12 Jul 2015 11:18
ANALYSIS: The King Had The Last Laugh
Culden Kamea (left), with Maori King Tuheitia at the ANZ Stadium in Suva yesterday. Photo: Rama

Maori King Tuheitia had the last laugh at the ANZ Stadium.

Just like his fellow countrymen who staged a late fightback to edge the Vodafone Flying Fijians 27-26 after being downed 26-10 at halftime.

King Tuheitia, Royal Consort Makau Ariki Atawhiri, Master of Royal household Rangi Whakaruru watched the game from the marqee erected close to the main grandstand.

He made a low profile entrance, just like die-hard rugby fans, into the ANZ Stadium.

“We attended the coronation in Tonga and he wanted to watch his fellowmen play the Flying Fijians.

“Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama requested him to be on the grandstand, but he preferred to watch his men from the ground level.”

And the Maori All Blacks responded in style in the second-half.

It was the game of two halves as the Fijians played well in the first-half. But they failed to register any points in the second-half which led to their downfall.

Here’s how we rate our Flying Fijians.

  1. Campese Ma’afu (loosehead prop) – spear-headed a strong forward pack that helped gain territory in the Maori All Blacks’ half. His strong defensive skills helped to shut the Maori out in the first half. 6/10

2, Taleimatoga Tuapati (hooker) – worked well in the forward pack to set up space and open up the field for Fiji’s two tries. 6/10

  1. Manasa Saulo (tighthead) – defensive ability was on point as the forward line worked to shut down the Maori attack early on in the first-half. 7/10
  2. Api Ratuniyarawa (lock) – performed competently in the scrum but needs more work in the lineout, which were executed poorly by the team as a whole. 6/10
  3. Leone Nakarawa (lock) – powerful defence, strong on the attack and very vocal, maintaining communication among the forward pack. 8/10
  4. Dominiko Waqaniburotu (blindside) – played well after a lapse of four years.6/10
  5. Malakai Ravulo (openside) – he delivered well in defence but be needs to keep his cool. 7/10
  6. Akapusi Qera (number 8) – was a competent leader on the field and carried the ball well resulting in a try at halftime. 8/10
  7. Nemia Kenatale (scrumhalf) – fed the ball well in the scrum. 6/10
  8. Josh Matavesi (first five-eighth ) – read the game well and cleared the ball well to extend their reach into the Maori half and set up try-scoring opportunities. 9/10
  9. Nemani Nadolo (wing) – arguably the man of the match, delivering three consecutive penalties and a try in the first 30 minutes, his exit shortly after scoring being felt by the team. 9/10
  10. Gabiriele Lovobalavu (second five-eight) – performed exceptionally, weaving through the defence in the second-half to almost score a try. 9/10
  11. Vereniki Goneva (centre) – delivered a strong performance, often ramming straight into the Maori defence. 9/10
  12. Benito Masilevu (wing) – a slow start making his 15s debut but was competent in his role, unfortunately shut down by the bigger Maori defense. 7/10
  13. Kini Murimurivalu (fullback) – rounded up the strong backline well and proved his efficiency scoring the opening try. 8/10




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