BRUTAL defence and open play rugby nearly gifted Namosi an upset win over Suva in their Skipper Cup duel at the ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
However, it was the hulking and experienced Suva forwards that held the Capital City side to a narrow 11-3 victory, moving them close to clinching a spot in the competition's top four.
Suva, which had an experienced front row in Jo Veitayaki, Flying Fijians Bill Veikoso and Leeroy Atalifo in the opening half before unleashing Waisea Daveta, Vesi Rarawa and Manasa Saulo off the bench proved too dominance upfront.
The home team played their traditional forwards game and even disrupting Namosi's attack at the ruck situation at crucial times.
Namosi on the other hand, was dangerous in general play.
The loose trio of Silivenusi Cavidi, Joe Visei and Risiate Tadulala linked up well with the backline led by Fiji sevens rep Leo Naikasau, former Fiji Bati rep Lasaro Turagadrau and fly half Jimilai Biumaiwai.
Suva's scrumhalf Seru Vularika opened the scoredboard, kicking off a penalty in the 20th minute before Naikasau evened the scores at 3-all when Veikoso was penalised for a high tackle in the 26th minute. The score remained the same at halftime.
Vularika added his second penalty in the 56th minute as Suva dominated possession and territory. The brick defence of Namosi stood tall despite being caught off their feet at times in the rucks.
Suva, led by captain Alipate Mateivelia was patient in attack and relied on its heavy forward pack to propel its way against Namosi, thus proving to be only way forward.
Replacement back Neori Vuidreketi found himself in the corner, scoring the only try of the match as all Namosi players were committed to the ruck at the stroke of fulltime.
Gracious in defeat, Namosi coach Timoci Wainiqolo said applauded his boys for the gallant effort.
"It was a tough game for us but I thank the boys for playing so well," he said.
"Suva had the experience and big boys but we're still learning the game and we hope to bounce back in the next game."
Meanwhile, Namosi edged Suva 20-18 in the under-20 game.