SPORTS

Two Good Scrums, Super Subs Turn Game Into Fiji’s Favour

The Vodafone Flying Fijians won the 2016 Pacific Nations Cup for the fourth consecutive year at the ANZ Stadium yesterday. After a 23-18 win over Tonga in the first round,
19 Jun 2016 10:13
Two Good Scrums, Super Subs Turn Game Into Fiji’s Favour
Patrick Osborne was hosted to dinner by the Mavana community in Suva last night. Photo: Stella Moresio

The Vodafone Flying Fijians won the 2016 Pacific Nations Cup for the fourth consecutive year at the ANZ Stadium yesterday.

After a 23-18 win over Tonga in the first round, the Fijians fought back from being down 16-10 at halftime to secure a 26-16 victory over Samoa in the end.

The turning point of the game came early in the second half from two consecutive scrums which puts the Fijians into the ascendancy

Scrum coach Alan ‘Grumpy’ Muir must have tightened the screw during his pep talk at halftime which shifted the Fijians into the overdrive.

Props Leeroy Atalifo and Campese Ma’afu made their required input when it mattered dismantling the Samoans pack.

This resulted in pivot Seremaia Bai kicking two penalties to level the score before subs Taniela Koroi for Atalifo and Serupepeli Vularika replacing Henry Seniloli lifted the intensity and momentum.

Ben Volavola showed his maturity and control at No.10 when he replaced Eroni Vasiteri.

“Good scrummaging and timely substitution shifted Fiji into top gear,” former Fiji Rugby Referees president John Whippy said.

“Samoa played well in the first half but unfortunately could not last.”

Bai drew first blood with a penalty but Samoa executed a very smart and aggressive game plan dominating territory.

This enabled first five eighth Tusi Pisi to kick three penalties.

Winger Waisea Nayacalevu was given the yellow card for being offside in the ruck.

Samoa took advantage and scored the first try from a well executed lineout ploy. It caught the Fijians by surprise when hooker Motu Matu’u scored.

Team captain Sunia Koto led by example when he scored in the corner which was converted Bai for Samoa to lead 16-10 at halftime.

The Fijians played an expansive game in the second half dominating territory allowing Bai to kick two penalties within five minutes to lead for the first time 19-16 in the 46th minute.

Bai could have extended the lead with a kickable penalty but Koto opted to kick for touch.

With four minutes to go, Patrick Osborne sealed the win with a try which was converted by Bai.

This came after frequent assault for the try-line by the forwards.

The Vodafone Flying Fijians play Georgia in the one-off test at 3pm on Friday at the ANZ Stadium.

 

How we rate our men

Props: Atalifo/Ma’afu-Sterling effort upfront, strong in defence before they were replaced by Koroi and Peni Ravai-7/10.

Hooker: Sunia Koto –The 36- year old played for 80 minutes and battled well, control the pack, defended well.-7/10

Lock forwards: Ratuniyarawa, Cavubati–  Tireless workers, good ball carriers- 6/10

Blindside flanker: Leone Nakarawa– Always in the thick of battle, lose possessions a few times.- 6/10.

Openside flanker: Naulia Dawai– In the making of a good ball hunter. 6/10

No. 8: Eremasi Radrodro– Another strong game, good leg drive, defended well. 7/10

Scrum-half: Henry Seniloli-Linking well, provided good cover defence.-6/10

First- five eighth: Seremaia Bai– Kept Fiji in the game with spot on kicking game, cool under pressure.- 8/10

Inside centres- Eroni Vasiteri/Vereniki Goneva– Strong in defence. 6/10

Wing: Waisea Nayacalevu– Strong runs, gallant in defence.- 6/10

Wing- Patrick Osborne-Dropped a few balls but showed his experience when he pounced on limited space to score the winning try.- 7/10

Fullback: Samisoni Viriviri– Good positional play, an improved performance from last week. – 7/10

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

 



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