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Fiji Time: 9:50 PM on Friday 22 August

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Powerhouse clash

Kameli Rakoko
Friday, June 06, 2014

IT has taken one full year before two of the country's provincial rugby powerhouse Nadroga and Naitasiri have been able to play each other again.

Usually they meet in the early rounds of the competition but a change of draws sees them in round six and both sides have been unbeaten so far.

They are playing under floodlights at 7pm today at Lawaqa Park.

Naitasiri are hoping to gauge its strength and 2014 campaign in this match against the competition leaders and coach Vereivalu has a set of impressive credentials in his coaching team.

Former national coaches Ilivasi Tabua and Samu Domoni plus former Flying Fijians star midfield back Seru Rabeni are helping Naitasiri and that is why they are unbeaten so far in the competition.

Nadroga has 24 points from five wins and four bonus points while Naitasiri has only managed two bonus points for scoring more than four tries.

Nadroga has scored the most tries with 21 and only seven scored against them while Naitasiri have cored 15 tries and also seven scored against them.

It shows that both sides have equal strength as far as defence of their tryline goes.

So we do not expect a big score from this clash, however conditions will decide this.

Nadroga coach Esala Nauga has maintained discipline as the cornerstone of his team selection and only those who can live up to the standards get game time.

He has never waivered from this and his side has been boosted by new training equipment.

"For the last years we trained without proper training gear, but now we have the tackle bags, hit shields and other training equipment," Nauga said.

He added that the result has shown positively on the rugby field.

Both sides have players in the Flying Fijians squad to play Italy tomorrow and they have organised their game to be played tonight so they can all watch the Test tomorrow.

Naitasiri and Nadroga did not play each other last year because of a mix-up of playing venues.

Naitasiri was then knocked out by Suva in the semi-final of the Digicel Cup competition and they missed each other on the Farebrother challenge.

The match will be highly competitive as they see each other as the only major obstacle to the top of the table when competition round robin ends.

The prizemoney for that had just gone up from last year's $5000 under Digicel to $15,000 under Skipper Tuna in 2014.

The eventual winner receives another $30,000.

Nauga said Nadroga was fully focused on its preparations targeting to collect all that prizemoney.

Naitasiri officials definitely have the same on their minds and will be out to challenge the leadership.

It means it will be a do or die effort down at Lawaqa.

A sneak preview of the Skipper Tuna final. Come down and see.


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