Sunvoice

Stallions need to bounce back in the Skipper Cup race

The Stallions hit the dead end in the first two rounds of the 2019 Skipper Cup Premiership and they were very much on the receiving end.
06 May 2019 15:17
Stallions need to bounce back in the Skipper Cup race
Nadroga's right wing Nacanieli Narekuva push away his opposite number Alipate Tule of Suva during Skipper Cup Championship at ANZ Stadium on May 4, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Editorial:

Nadroga used to be the team to beat in provincial rugby over the years.

Undisputed champions, winners of so many titles and their popularity and prowess were recognised in the world of rugby.

They even got an invitation and played against the famous All Blacks once during one of their tours to Fiji.

The Stallions are one of the reasons why we love and regard rugby as our national sport.

They are the most successful and greatest provincial rugby team in Fiji rugby history having won the premier rugby comp, the prestigious Farebrother Sullivan Trophy, more than 80 times since the inception of the competition

It held the Farebrother Sullivan Trophy for a record nine years in a row from 1971 to 1979 and contributed the highest number of rugby players to the national team.

But for the past two years the Stallions have struggled to win provincial titles, having lost the Skipper Cup Premiership and HFC Bank Farebrother Challenge to Suva and Naitasiri respectively.

And it seems nothing has changed.

The Stallions hit the dead end in the first two rounds of the 2019 Skipper Cup Premiership and they were very much on the receiving end.

Having suffered a heavy 40-18 loss to Nadi on April 13, they have now conceded 74 points in two matches after losing to defending champions Suva 16-34 at the ANZ Stadium last Saturday.

The fact that the losses came at the hands of two teams Nadroga was expected to compete against for the title is a worrying prospect for the westerners.

They need to hit back in the third round this Saturday to stay in the race.

Playing Northland at Gatward Park, Korovou, would be tough, but they need to bounce back to their winning ways.

It’s important that the side regains its champion status because Nadroga has a rich and talented pool of players who always go through the ranks and later graduate through the Fiji Rugby Union development pathways.

Likewise Northland on five points after a win over Rewa and a bonus loss (19-26) to Nadi last Saturday must defend their turf if they are to stay in the big league in 2020.

With four rounds remaining, it is vital to amass points earlier in the competition as only six teams out of the eight will qualify.

Rewa and Tailevu will try to register their first win when they clash at Ratu Cakobau Park on Saturday while unbeaten teams Naitasiri and Nadi battle.

But the main match of the round should be between Suva and Namosi at Thomson Park, Navua.

Playing with 13 men at one stage against Tailevu last Saturday, Namosi must lift its game and discipline.

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians squad member Serupepeli Vularika was red carded and Namosi captain Mosese Voka was yellow carded.

They need to be cool under pressure and can’t afford to drop their guard against the capital side.

But the focus this Saturday will be on winless Nadroga, Rewa and Tailevu.

A win is important for the three teams in round three.

 

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