A PENALTY at the stroke of fulltime gifted Naitasiri Northern Bulls a 11-all draw with Rewa to mark their return to provincial rugby in Suva yesterday.
Flyhalf Josefa Torolevu ensured the Bulls escape the jaws of defeat when they trailed 8-11 with seconds left into the game.
Despite leading 8-3 at the break, the Bulls struggled to contain the Rewa forwards in the ruck situation.
Torolevu opened the scoring with an early penalty before Rewa's fullback Joeli Kavilo levelled the scores.
Nippy halfback Roseru Baleinaivalu put the Bulls in the lead with a try just before halftime. Torolevu missed the conversion, Bulls led 8-3 at the break.
Former Flying Fijians skipper and Rewa coach Ro Alivereti Doviverata had a pep talk with his boys that boosted their morale in the second half.
Rewa dominated possession and territory and several times threatened the Bulls defensive line.
"I think it is a good start for us," Doviverata said.
"This is a new team and I believe we still have to work on a lot of areas before the next game. I thank the boys for the effort and also for Naitasiri North for giving us a good game."
Rewa's try was scored by halfback Josefa Vasakula.
Bulls coach Manasa Radrotini said it was a good exposure for his boys.
"A draw is good enough for us," he said.
"Most of the boys have not played at this level before and I believe this match was a good experience and exposure for them."
He said they needed to rectify their weaknesses before the next game against Nakasaleka on Wednesday.