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Ratubalavu boots Nadi to victory

Zanzeer Singh
Sunday, June 15, 2014

SUPER boot Venisemani Ratubalavu came off the bench to inspire Nadi to a 29-12 bonus point victory over Tavua in their Skipper Cup match at Prince Charles Park in Nadi yesterday.

Ratubalavu showed his class nailing a 49-metre drop goal to the delight of the home fans. Nadi dominated the first spell holding on to possession and scored three tries to lead 19-6 at the break.

However indiscipline proved costly for Nadi as they gave away several penalties which prevented them from building on the momentum.

Tavua, the giant killers after upsetting Suva last week, found it hard to crack the stubborn Nadi defence despite 7s star Seremaia Burotu's presence at centre.

Nadi coach Cohen Politini described Ratubalavu as the next Opeti Turuva.

"Actually Opeti is Venisemani's uncle and they hail from the Yavusania Village," Politini said.

"He has been with the team from last season. We decided to use him as an impact player in the last two games and he has certainly delivered."

Politini said the forwards laid the platform for the backline to run the ball.

He said discipline was one area they needed to improve on after giving away too many penalties.

"We achieved our goal of making a good start and working on the phases," Politini said.

"But in the second half we failed to build on the advantage. The boys became very complacent after scoring three tries. That is one thing that they will need to change.

"We gave away too many penalties and discipline is something that we will need to improve on. We suffered early injuries which disrupted our game plan. At least ten of our starting players are out because of injuries suffered in the competition."

Referee Tevita Rokovereni awarded Nadi a penalty try. Semi Kunatani, Jock Luita and Sunia Vosikata scored a try each. Ratubalavu kicked three conversions.

Tevita Naroyasi kicked four penalties for the visitors.

Tavua team manager Lepani Liga said they lost to a better team.

Liga said their young players needed to learn quickly.

"We went down to a better prepared Nadi team but there is always room for improvement," he said.

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