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Fiji Airways Fijian 7s Forward Meli Derenalagi Urged On Cutting Mistakes

The Fijians were pushed to the wire in the Cup quarterfinals by Argentina but ultimately ran out 29-24 victors– thanks, in part, to Derenalagi’s one try and two as­sists.
06 Apr 2019 15:19
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s Forward Meli Derenalagi Urged On Cutting Mistakes
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s forwards Meli Derenalagi and Josua Vakurunabili with fans after the 21-7 Cup final victory against France at Hong Kong Stadium on April 7, 2019. Photo: Kitione Rokomanu/ZoomFiji

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s forward Meli Derenalagi spoke about cutting out mistakes ahead of their Cup semi-final clash against USA in the Hong Kong 7s yesterday.

The Fijians were pushed to the wire in the Cup quarterfinals by Argentina but ultimately ran out 29-24 victors– thanks, in part, to Derenalagi’s one try and two as­sists.

Speaking in his post-match inter­view, Derenalagi said: “Hong Kong is like our home ground. It’s a spe­cial place.

“It was a great game (against Argentina). I thank Argentina for giving us a tough match. We have a lot of work still left to do to get better for the semi-final (against USA).

“It will be tough match against the USA. They also want to win this title which will help them in the World Series.”

Argentina scored two quick fire tries through Santiago Mare and Matias Osadzuk to take an early 12-0 lead.

COMEBACK WIN

But the defending champions nev­er panicked, hitting back through captain Paula Dranisinukula, who was assisted by Derenalagi.

Luciano Gonzalez then added to Argentina’s lead, crossing over af­ter a string of Fijian missed tack­les to make it 17-7.

Dranisinukula then burst for­ward for his second try in the final play of the first half after being released once again by Derenalagi.

The young Nawaka, Nadi native has become a crucial player for coach Gareth Baber this season and will remain so in the chase for the World Sevens Series title.

The half ended with Argentina ahead by 17-12.

Winger Aminiasi Tuimaba drew Fiji level at 17-17 with his fifth try of the 2019 Hong Kong 7s, after some good play by plucky halfback Seremaia Tuwai.

Fiji then took the lead for the first time in the match through Derenalagi, after strong rucking by Vilimoni Botitu which allowed Livai Ikanikoda to create space for the 20-year-old.

Diminutive playmaker Terio Tamani got his first try of the tour­nament to extend Fiji’s lead and ensure a late try by Marcos Mon­eta was only a consolation.

Forward Sevuloni Mocenacagi received a yellow card in the final play of the match for a late shoul­der charge, which did not affect his eligibility to play in the semi-final.

QUARTERFINAL RESULTS

Challenge Trophy- Scotland 38-14 Spain, Australia 26-21 Portugal, Wales 7-38 Japan, Canada 0-19 Kenya.

Cup QF– South Africa 12-21 USA, Fiji 29-24 Argentina, England 12-14 Samoa, France 14-12 New Zealand

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

 



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