NAITASIRI overcame a late Lautoka surge to down the westerners 23-16 at Albert Park in a round six Digicel Cup fixture yesterday in Suva.
Naitasiri were leading 23-9 mid-way in the second half when Lautoka began clawing their way back into the match on a wet and muddy field.
The Maroons overturned numerous line-outs and outmuscled the Highlanders at every scrum in the second half as they tried their best to score more points in the match.
However, the Naitasiri defence stood tall and denied Lautoka many chances of scoring tries.
After the match Reverend Joji Rinakama admitted he was at fault when preparing his team despite the win.
He says they may have won the battle on the scoreboard but lost in many areas on the field.
"The only thing that carried us through was our fast backline," Rinakama said.
"We were pushed back in the scrum and we lost nearly all our line-outs," he said.
"And I admit I was at fault because I did not spend much time with the forwards and only worked on them just a little bit.
He said that was one area that would be improved for their next game against Northland.
"I will spend more time with the forwards and try and improve on their mistakes today but most of our mistakes were due to the wet and muddy ground conditions," Rinakama said.
Lautoka coach Isireli Bulicokocoko said he was proud of the way his boys stood up against Naitasiri.
"We lost the match but most importantly we won the physical battle," Bulicokocoko said.
"We turned over their line-outs and outmuscled their scrums and that is one good point we got out of this match," he said.
"We couldn't do much because of the poor ground conditions."
He also expressed his disappointment as the way the match was officiated.
"Some of the calls made by the officials were against us.
"There were times when Naitasiri players should have been shown yellow cards for numerous infringements but it never came," Bulicokocoko said.
Naitasiri: Tries: John Stewart, Jese Cirikisuva, Nasoni Roko. Conversions: Kolinio Vunaki (2); penalties: Vunaki (2)
Lautoka: Tries: Taione Ratu. Conversion: Taniela Rawaqa; Penalties: Taniela Rawaqa (3)