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Nadi holds on to beat Northland

Rashneel Kumar
Sunday, May 04, 2014

A LAST gasp attempt by Northland to beat Nadi on their home turf proved futile after the Jetsetters clinched a crucial 14-10 win in the round two of the Skipper Cup competition yesterday.

Northland left it too late for a comeback as Nadi held on to its slender lead to return home with maximum points from Gatward Park in Korovou.

Both teams lost in the opening round of the provincial competition and were out to prove a point to their loyal fans.

Nadi got off to a good start after fullback Venisemani Ratubalavu gave the Western side a 3-0 lead in the 15th minute of the play via a penalty kick.

The team tried hard to increase the lead but slippery ground conditions marred their movement and spoiled the free-flowing game plan.

Northland responded in the 30th minute much to the delight of the home fans after inside centre Netani Koroi crossed the whitewash and fullback Tikilaci Vuibau added the extras for the 7-3 lead.

Nadi's Ratubalavu slotted another penalty at the stroke of half time to cushion the deficit 7-6, in favour of Northland.

The visitors kicked off the second spell in similar style with another successful penalty from Ratubalavu for a 9-7 lead before lock Viliame Ratute scored a try to extend the lead to 14-7.

Sensing defeat Northland started putting pressure on Nadi and was rewarded with a penalty in the 57th minute which Vuibau slotted in for a 14-10 score in favour of Nadi.

Northland continued its attack but some senseless kicking marred the chances they created.

"There are a lot of boys who are new to this competition and we gave away a lot of penalties as well which cost us the game," Northland coach Watisoni Ratulevu said.

"Our scrummaging let us down and some of the set piece as well.

"This is just the second game. We have to instill in the boys what is needed at this level and I think we can bounce back."

Elated Nadi mentor Cohan Politini said the win was what they needed to ignite the morale of the players.

"Lot of pressure on us for the past four weeks but we are happy that we got a win."

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