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Missed conversion hands over bowl

Zanzeer Singh
Saturday, December 08, 2012

A failed last gasp conversion from Army fullback Setareki Koroilagilagi handed Police the Sukuna Bowl at Churchill Park in Lautoka yesterday.

Police defeated Army 17-15 to take home the prized tanoa.

Down 10-17, Army staged a late rally in the dying stages. Flying Fijians lock Leone Nakarawa stole a Police lineout throw and crashed over the try line. However, Koroilagilagi's conversion drifted across the post to the delight of the Police fans.

It was a tight contest with many ferocious tackles made by both teams. The early pressure was on kickers Kaminieli Neiqisa (Army) and Jonetani Ralulu (Police) as they missed easy penalty attempts.

Army eventually opened the scoring in the 33rd minute through the boots of Neiqisa.

Army led 3-0 at the break.

Police coach Savenaca Aria said they had a stern pep talk with the players at the break.

He said Ralulu was told to lift his game.

"We knew it would be hard in the second half if we had not lifted our game," Aria said.

"We had a stern talk with the boys and they stepped up in the second spell, especially Ralulu.

"We are really happy with the outcome. The boys had been training very hard for the past four weeks.

"We would like to thank the vanua who have been behind us. We dedicate this win to Police Commissioner Ioane Naivalurua who is away in China and to all our family members.

"I would like to thank the fans for coming out in blue. They lifted the moral of the players."

Army coach Reverend Joji Rinakama said Police played their cards right.

He said Ralulu's high kicks did the damage.

"We had told the boys to be mindful of the high kicks by Ralulu," Rinakama said.

"It was slippery out there and we made the mistakes."

Replacement Iliesa Ratuva scored for Police within the first minute of the second spell.

Ralulu converted and then added a drop goal.

Sireli Ledua scored at the other end under the cross bar in the 62nd minute. Koroilagilagi converted to level the scores.

A high bomb from Ralulu was misjudged by the Army defenders. Semesa Takirua raced through and toed the ball ahead to score in the 67th minute. Nakarawa had teh final say with a try.

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