SPORTS

Mixed Start For Fijian Warriors

Telecom Fijian Warriors 38 (Tries- Mosese Voka, Serupepeli Vularika, Eroni Vasiteri, Lepani Raiyala (2), John Stewart, Cons: Apisalome Waqatabu (3), Jonetani Ralulu (1). Tonga A- 30 (Penalty: James Faiva (3),
11 Mar 2017 11:42
Mixed Start For Fijian Warriors
Eremasi Radrodro of Fiji Warriors break through the defence of the Tongan team.Photo:Jone Luvenitoga

Telecom Fijian Warriors 38 (Tries- Mosese Voka, Serupepeli Vularika, Eroni Vasiteri, Lepani Raiyala (2), John Stewart, Cons: Apisalome Waqatabu (3), Jonetani Ralulu (1).

Tonga A- 30 (Penalty: James Faiva (3), Cons (3). Tries- Sione Lolohea (2), Tuikakavalu Ika.

What happened: The Telecom Fijian Warriors side had a strong start in the first round of the Pacific Challenge beating Tonga A  38-30 at the ANZ Stadium, Suva last night.

The Senirusi Seruvakula coached- side got off to a strong start in the first 40 minutes as they were able to dominate possession and were unstoppable as captain Mosese Voka ran in to score their first try. The Warriors continued to be dominant in attack as halfback Serupepeli Vularika scored their second try, which was converted by fullback Apisalome Waqatabu.

Pressure mounted on the Fijian side and as a result they committed basic mistakes, which allowed the Tongans to convert three penalties through first five eight James Faiva.

The Fijians kept to their structures of being dominant to the breakdown areas and set pieces which saw vice-captain Eroni Vasiteri ran on to a pass and brushed aside feeble tackles to score the third try, which was converted by Waqatabu.

Then enterprising winger Lepani Raiyala got his name to the score sheet when he dived over for the Warriors bonus point try just before half time, which was converted by Waqatabu.

Halftime: Fijian Warriors 26-9 Tonga A

The Warriors started the second half strongly as John Stewart broke through the Tongan defence to score their fifth try and Waqatabu was unsuccessful with the conversion. The game became scrappy and Warriors’ Kalivati Tawake was sinned binned which allowed the Tongans to turn the table around and dominate possession mid way the second half.

The Tongans broke through the Warriors defence resulting in captain and hooker Sione Lolohea scoring twice with Faiva successful with the conversions.

Basic mistake committed by the Warriors saw Tonga A capitalised and scored their third try through Tuikakavalu Ika with Faiva’s conversion going over. The Warriors sealed the match with their final try to Raiyala which was converted by Jonetani Ralulu.

Big play:  Even though the Warriors dominated the first 40 minutes the Tongans put on a gutsy performance in the second half as they were able penetrate their defence and able to breach the scoring line.

Star Turn: Smart rugby displayed by Faiva, which saw him score 15 points from his boots.

Comments: Telecom Fijian Warriors head coach Senirusi Seruvakula was disappointed with the player’s performance in the second half.

“It was our discipline that allowed Tonga to come back at us. We opened opportunities for them and I’m very disappointed that we did not play according to our game plan. There’s a lot of areas we need to work on.

“We saw how Japan defeated Samoa today and we need to step up on our preparation. We just got one day to prepare on Monday before we play the strong Japanese side on Tuesday.

“We have to play smart rugby against them.”

Tonga A coach Isi Fatani was  impressed with his players’ performance.

“Good physical game against Fiji who deserve the win but I’m impressed with our performance it’s a step-up from last year.

“I reminded the boys at half time to play their hearts out and play bravely which they did.”



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