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Champs again

Emoni Narawa
Sunday, August 24, 2014

COMBINED individual skills can give you a fantastic team.

This was well illustrated by the BLK Nadroga side during the Skipper Cup final yesterday.

The Stallions thrashed Tacirua Transport Naitasiri 50-7 at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka to pocket the $30,000 on offer to the cup winner.

The Stallions rattled Naitasiri in all phases of the match despite a slow start in the first half.

Flying Fijians head coach John McKee labelled the game as "fantastic".

Scoring a try after just 45 seconds, towering lock Epeli Natuikata was later sent to tHe sin bin for a late tackle on Naitasiri scrum-half Kini Douglas.

Natuikata's converted try which put Nadroga in the lead 7-0 is one of quickest tries scored in the competition.

Naitasiri lock Seresio Vereivalu scored a try and Kolinio Vunaki added the extras to even the score 7-all in the 10th minute.

Stallions playmaker Ratu Meli Kurisaru who grabbed a brace of tries, scored his first try in the 17th minute to give Nadroga the lead 12-7.

After serving his time on the sideline, Natuikata lifted the Stallions' tempo to full flight.

He picked up a loose ball beside a ruck, flicked a pass to supporting player Savenaca Rawaca and openside flanker Sailosi Rabonaqica was on spot to continue the momentum which Waqatabu finished in a fashionable way on the tryline.

Kurisaru completed his brace in the opening half while inside centre Eroni Vasiteri and Samu Laqai also crossed the whitewash.

The home side led 31-7 at the interval.

Naitasiri's body language in the second half hinted that Nadroga had already won the game in the first 40 minutes.

The Stallions scored another three tries to Samu Cava, Rawaca and former Fiji sevens rep Ratunaisa Narukutabua in the second half.

Nadroga coach Esala Nauga acknowledged his players for a good game.

"We played to our strength, we know that we have the fitness so we stuck to that throughout," he said.

"So thankful to the boys for a grand game."

He said Naitasiri tested their scrums in the opening half.

"We still need to lift our game to another level."

Naitasiri team manager Waisea Luveniyali said Nadroga was the better team.

The highlanders were rewarded with $10,000 for finishing as runner-up in the competition.

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