SPORTS

Frank Lomani Warriors Power On

It was a nervous start by the Fiji­ans at Suva’s ANZ Stadium but Se­nirusi Seruvakula’s coached- team managed to shrug off early mis­takes and compose themselves on the way to a big victory.
18 Mar 2019 02:45
Frank Lomani Warriors Power On
Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors players with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama after winning the 2019 World Rugby Challenge at the ANZ Stadium, Suva on March 16, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Swire Shipping Fiji Warri­ors captain Frank Lomani praised his team’s determined attitude as they claimed their 4th successive World Rugby Pacific Challenge trophy with a 48-16 win over Samoa A yesterday.

It was a nervous start by the Fiji­ans at Suva’s ANZ Stadium but Se­nirusi Seruvakula’s coached- team managed to shrug off early mis­takes and compose themselves on the way to a big victory.

Samoa A converted three penal­ties in the 2nd, 8th and 16th minute through first five eighth D’Angelo Leuila to take an early 9-0 lead.

The Samoans had the better start of the two teams, forcing the Fiji­ans into making mistakes at scrum time to put some early points on the board.

Hooker Tevita Ikanivere played 46 minutes in his full Warriors debut at, replacing the injured Mesulame Dolokoto.

Prop Eroni Mawi continued his impressive competition form, scor­ing for the Fijians in the 19th min to make it 5-9, with Caleb Muntz miss­ing the conversion.

Centre Tuidraki Samusamuvodre scored the Warriors’ second try af­ter some brilliant counter attack­ing play by No. 8 John Dyer.

The Fijians led 12-9 with a success­ful Muntz conversion.

Halfback Lomani extended the Warriors’ lead in the 32nd minute after a strong Fijian scrum put pressure on the Samoans, with Muntz converting to make it 19-9.

Winger Veramu Dikidikilati got his try on the cusp of halftime to make it 24-9 to continue his impres­sive displays in the competition, following two tries each against Tonga A and Junior Japan.

Halftime: Fijian Warriors 24-9 Sa­moa A.

The second half started slowly as both teams made frequent handling errors at crucial moments , halting the momentum of the match.

Warriors’ winger, Tira Patterson, was influential once again, cross­ing the line in the corner to extend Fiji’s lead to 29-9 in the 55th min.

There were concerns Patterson would sit out this match due to an ankle injury, but the star-find put all of that to bed with another ex­plosive display.

Second rower Mosese Voka bull­dozed his way across the line in the 62nd minute to add to Fiji’s lead, with Muntz converting to make it 36-9.

Muntz had a mixed day with the boot, converting 3 out his six at­tempts at goal.

Samoan second five eighth Leuila scored the visitors’ first try of the match, converting himself to make it 36-16.

Peni Naulago, who replaced lock forward Meli Nabura, pow­ered through the Samoan defence to score the Warriors’ 7th try as Simione Kuruvoli’s conversion stretched Fiji’s lead to 43-16.

Vere Vugakoto, who had come on for debutant Ikanivere, scored the Warriors’ 8th try in the 80th min after some brilliant play from Lom­ani helped him find space to drive over the line.

Comments: Fiji Warriors captain Frank Lomani said: “The credit goes to the boys for putting their bodies on the line against a tough Samoan team.

“They took an early lead but we never gave up and it paid off even­tually.”

Samoan captain Afa Aiono said: “It was a tough game as expected against the Fijians but I think we played better than our first two games.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj



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