Skipper Cup: Suva tops list

Suva rugby captain Isireli Ledua (right) in action during the Skipper Cup match against Rewa at Bidesi Ground in Suva yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

THE Suva rugby team maintained its Skipper Cup table lead after surviving a powerful challenge from new major union Rewa on a soggy Bidesi Ground at Laucala Bay yesterday. The 10-point win ensured the Capital City side book a semi-final spot in the four top finishers yesterday alongside Nadroga, Naitasiri and Namosi. Namosi, the Farebrother Trophy holders edged Rewa in the table for fourth position after beating Nadi 22-15 at Thomson Park in Navua yesterday. Meanwhile, the Jope Tuikabe-coached Suva Blues used experience and its heavy pack to survive the gallant Rewa attack under light showers and slippery conditions. A fine weather challenge would have been a different story, but the Sireli Ledua-captained hosts won 18-8 through two pushover tries and two penalties against a Rewa back line try and a penalty. Rewa’s loss slipped them to fifth position and in a difficult berth to win a semi-final spot because they have to beat champions Nadroga at Burebasaga in the next round Suva had all the advantage – major union experience, size, weight and good resources, compared with their neighbours who is coached by former national 7s and 15s skipper Ro Alivereti Doviverata. The match was a battle of wits between him and his former Suva and national teammate Jope Tuikabe. Rewa did not allow the hosts to settle until after 22 minutes when the Suva forwards scored a pushover try which was converted for 7-0 and a penalty for another three points to see them lead 10-0 at the break. Rewa started strongly when the match resumed, but their eagerness caused spilled balls and individual runs which did not work well against a heavy and experienced pack which played to 80 minutes on a slippery surface. That was the difference, and it was acknowledged by Ro Doviverata. “We missed a lot of opportunities,” he said. “We lack ball control, lost good balls and we did not keep and utilise our possession. “Our line-outs need improvement too, but we are learning and we played Suva. We had some good moments.” Tuikabe knew he had the advantage, but he said he played his cards well because Rewa had its own success story. “Rewa was not easy to beat,” he said. “They were strong, but I knew we had the advantage. We had to defend well because Rewa was fast and they came to win. Suva will meet Nadi next while Rewa tries to beat Nadroga in the next three weeks.

In other results:

Skipper Cup: Round 6 results: Malolo 13 -17 Nadroga, Suva 18 – 8 Rewa, Navosa 7 – 21 Naitasiri, Namosi 22 – 15 Nadi.
Women’s: Malolo 33 – 12 Nadroga, Suva 32 – 0 Rewa, Navosa 0 – 15 Naitasiri, Namosi – Nadi (match cancelled because of bad weather conditions).
U20: Malolo 16 – 25 Nadroga, Suva 32 – 6 Rewa, Navosa 0 – 25 Naitasiri, Namosi vs Nadi (match cancelled).
Vodafone Vanua Championship: U20: Bua 0 – 18 Northern Bulls, Macuata 28 – 21 Northland, Ovalau 29 – 27 Nasinu, Cakaudrove 8 – 12 Tailevu, Lautoka 19 – 13 Vatuoula, Serua 10 – 3 Yasawa, Nanukuloa 12 – 10 Ba, Tavua 7 – 6 Ra.
Seniors: Bua 17 – 0 Northern Bulls, Macuata 12 – 17 Northland, Ovalau 24 – 13 Nasinu, Cakaudrove 22 – 30 Tailevu, Lautoka 14 – 6 Vatukoula, Serua 8 – 8 Yasawa, Nanukuloa 34 – 6 Ba, Tavua 11 – 5 Ra.