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Serevi weaves magic wand

Sunday, August 12, 2007

WAISALE Serevi was at his best again for Suva yesterday.

The wizardry of the sevens star set up the Capital City side's final try which most at the Suva Grammar School grounds would have only seen on television during the Super 14 competition.

From a penalty five metres away from the visiting Lautoka team's tryline, Serevi kicked the ball across field to his unmarked winger Osea Kolinisau to score Suva's fourth try and its bonus point for a 36-27 victory.

The try was reminiscent of the Auckland Blues during their reign in the Super 12 competition.

The former sevens coach brought Suva's attacking game to life every time he touched the ball and it was his quick reaction that caught Lautoka off guard.

"He is something else," one fan quipped. "Serevi is playing in a league of his own and I think Ilivasi Tabua (national rugby coach) should take him to the World Cup."

But something the Lautoka team can be proud of is their never-say-die attitude. The Maroons came from 21-13 down at the halftime to trail 29-27 with three minutes to go.

The Taniela Ratu-captained side left things late to stage a comeback.

The Sugar City side came with its armory fully loaded and created havoc at times with ace kickers Taniela Rawaqa and Iliesa Nalawaniyavi, and prop forward Sikeli Nasau.

Serevi cheekily opened Suva's account with a penalty for an early 3-0 lead.

Lautoka replied with a try to Nasau after the forwards worked straight into overtime and had Suva back peddling.

Former national fullback Rawaqa brought his ace kicking boots with him and converted the extras to have Lautoka leading 7-3.

Suva captain Fero Daunitutu scored a try after gathering the ball from Serevi on the switch, kicking ahead, regained possession in mid-air and then running untouched.

Then eight minutes later, Daunitutu was under the posts again with try similar to his first kick, regather and sprint untouched.

Serevi's conversion took Suva's tally to 15-7.

Rawaqa was spot on with his second penalty from 15 metres out after missing his first attempt to take Lautoka to within five points.

Suva fullback Ben Soso kept Suva's points ticking with a 40-metre penalty to give the hosts an 18-10 lead.

Then Rawaqa and Serevi exchanging penalties for a 21-13 lead to Suva at the breather.

Serevi opened the second half scoring with a penalty conversion after Nasau was cautioned for dangerous play.

Kolinisau put Suva further ahead at 29-13 with the first of his two before Lautoka launched its comeback.

Tries to replacement lock forward Soko Ratudradra and inside centre Manito Kinojoji both tries converted by Nalawaniyavi brought Lautoka to with two points of Suva's lead.

Then Serevi weaved his magic wand and his cross kick sent the ball to an unmarked Kolinisau. Serevi converted the try in the last act of the match.

The win sees Suva maintain its third place standing on the points table with 24 points.

Lautoka has dropped down one place to fifth.