SPORTS

Fijians Rated At MLR Comp

After having a messy lineout in New Eng­land, Vugakoto produced clean throws to give the Warriors the edge in the aerial game.
16 Apr 2021 11:51
Fijians Rated At MLR Comp
Former Flying Fijians hooker and Nadi captain Veremalua Vugakoto leads the charge for Utah Warriors during the Major League Rugby in the United States of America.. Photo: Utah Warriors

Four Fijians have been penciled as among the 15 strongest players during the fourth round of the Major League Rugby (MLR) in the United States of Amer­ica.

MLR correspondent Aaron Castro said, each week the GEICO XVs highlights strong play in the MLR.

The Houston SaberCats led the way with four players including two Fijians. They were former Naitasiri winger, Veramu ‘Suva Ex­press’ Dikidikilati and right-wing Paula Bale­kana who scored a try each in their 34-32 win over San Diego Legion, last Sunday.

Dikidikilati made the squad in week two from the inside centre position and this week his versatility earned a spot as the outside centre.

“When Dikidikilati is in space he can be al­most unstoppable. With his physicality with the ball in hand, he always sucks in multiple defenders,” Castro said.

“He scored a try, and had 11 carries for 74, a line break, a tackle break, and an offload.”

“Balekana often paired up with Dikidiklati to form a dynamic duo, showing how difficult he was to track down.

“With the ball in hand, he scored a try, made six carries for 75 metres, two line breaks, sev­en tackle-breaks. On defense, he completed six tackles and had seven ruck arrivals in the breakdown.”

The two-time defending MLR Champions, Seattle Seawolves managed their first win of the season against Utah 20-15 in Salt Lake City.

Former Northland and USA backrow An­drew Durutalo played at the blindside flanker and scored try in the win.

“Durutalo showed how dangerous he can be as a physical ball carrier in space scoring a try, making seven carries for 100 metres, two line breaks, and two tackle breaks. In the breakdown he had 11 ruck arrivals,” added Castro.

Impressively, former Flying Fijians hooker and Nadi captain, Veremalua Vugakoto was part of Utah Warriors line-up and had his name on the scoreboard for scoring under the post too.

“After having a messy lineout in New Eng­land, Vugakoto produced clean throws to give the Warriors the edge in the aerial game.

“On the ground, he scored a key try to keep the Warriors in the game early and made five carries for 20 metres, a tackle break, and an offload.

“On defense, he completed seven tackles and had 12 ruck arrivals in the breakdown,” Cas­tro added.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua



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