Nacanieli Narekuva: Win For Province, Fans

The match in Thompson Park in Navua was a fiery affair, marred with discipline issues that saw the referee flash three yellow and a red card by the end.
26 May 2019 10:46
Nacanieli Narekuva: Win For Province, Fans
Nadroga players and fans celebrate the Skipper Cup Premiership win over Namosi at Thompson Park, Navua on May 25, 2019. Photo: Sheldon Chanel

Nacanieli Narekuva was the hero for Nadroga as his late try helped the Stallions beat Namosi 27-21 in the Skipper Cup Premier yesterday.

The match in Thompson Park in Navua was a fiery affair, marred with discipline issues that saw the referee flash three yellow and a red card by the end.

Narekuva dedicated the win to his province and said the support from his team helped him score the match-winning try.

“We’ve been working hard in training all week and we were desperate for a win today,” the substitute winger said.

“This try is for the people of our province and we thank them for their support.”

Namosi controlled large parts of the game and destroyed Nadroga at scrum time, but the visitors kept their cool to claim an important bonus point win.

Things took a nasty turn in the 64th minute when Namosi lock forward Vaione Tegu was red carded for punching Nadroga’s Emosi Vucago, leaving the halfback with a bloodied face.

Following the red card, Tegu had to be restrained by his team-mates when he made a dash for the linesman who had pointed out the incident to the referee.

At that point, Namosi were leading 18-17 but let the lead slip away after losing a player 16 minutes from full-time.

What happened

The home side took an early lead through a 3rd minute Viliame Mauru penalty, but Nadroga’s sustained pressure allowed them to score the game’s first try in the 9th through halfback Joseva Kuricuva.

First five-eight Jaoji Dakuvula missed the conversion as Nadroga led 5-3.

Namosi’s problems worsened when winger Veramu Dikidikilati was sent to the bin in the 12th minute for a high tackle on his Nadroga counterpart Navitalai Bakewa.

But it was the home side that struck next when prop Aseri Robarobalevu emerged from a powerful maul in the 20th minute to score in the right hand corner. Mauru’s missed conversion meant Namosi led 8-5.

With Dikidikilati back from the bin, Nadroga’s Kuricuva turned villain in the 24th minute with a high tackle that forced the referee to flash yet another yellow card.

Mauru then extended the home side’s lead in the 27th minute with a penalty earned through good play at the breakdown which forced a turnover. Namosi led 11-8.

The indiscipline of both teams continued unabated, this time Namosi halfback Sami Tagivetaua sent to the bin for high tackle in the 30th on Mauru that, on another day, could have easily been a red.

Namosi further extended their lead when first five-eighth Netava Koroisau scored controversially after Nadroga spilled the ball from scrum time.

There were suggestions of a knock-on in the lead up but the referee awarded the try after consultation with his assistant, to the delight of the home crowd. Mauru converted to make it 18-5.

Nadroga centre Sakiusa Nakalevu then scored on the stroke of half-time to reduce the deficit, capitalising on a rare Namosi defensive error. Centre Josese Kurokavu missed the conversion as the home side led 18-10 at half time.

Halftime: Namosi 18-10 Nadroga

Nadroga began the second half as they ended the first, as prop Setefano Somoca drove over for their third try of the match. Former national 7 playmaker and Nadroga fullback Amenoni Nasilasila converted to make it 18-17.

Namosi extended their lead through a Koroisau penalty in the 55th after yet another strong scrum turnover but then came the red card to Tegu which swung the game in Nadroga’s favour.

The visitors took the lead in the 74th minute through Narekuva, who ran nearly 50 meters to score in the right hand corner with Nasilasila’s converting to make it 24-21.

Nasilasila then scored a 40-metre penalty in the 37th to extend Nadroga’s lead and seal the win.

Fulltime: Namosi 21-27 Nadroga

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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