NIPPY Sainivalati Kenatale put on a man of the match performance to guide Vatukoula to a 31-8 bonus point victory over Rewa in the Digicel Cup at Theodore Park yesterday.
Kenatale was a thorn for the Rewa defence with his jinxing runs to hand the home side their first win in the competition. He scored a classic try and nailed four conversions and a penalty for a personal tally of 16 points.
A pep talk by coach Senirusi Seruvakula at half time spark the home side into action after both teams were locked 3-all at the break.
Ball handing was a concern for both teams as they lost possession at crucial stages.
Vatukoula clearly dominated the second half and raced to 31-3 lead before a late consolation try by the visitors.
Seruvakula was happy with his team's performance but stated that there was room for improvement.
He said the message at half time was to maintain possession and play as a unit.
"I think we played well but there is a lot of room for improvement," Seruvakula said.
"We are happy to win. The fans turned up in numbers. The message at half time was to keep the ball and believe in themselves. They had to play as a unit. They really executed the things well in the second half."
"Rewa lacked fitness. They failed in the communication department and we managed to capitalise on that."
Kenatale missed a penalty in the sixth minute. Rewa full back Joeli Kaviko tried a long range penalty in the 12th minute but it fell short. Kaviko had another attempt at the Vatukoula post from half way but failed to find the distance three minutes later.
It was third time lucky for Kaviko who finally landed his attempt in the 17th minute to put the hosts in front.
Rewa's Tevita Bainivalu and Apete Baleisuva spent time in the sin bin after being shown the yellow card.
Kenatale drew level with a penalty close to half time.
Vatukoula fullback Manoa Natorogia split the Rewa defence in the opening moments of the second spell to score an individual try. Kenatale converted to make it 10-3 in Vatukoula's favour.
The hosts continued to pressure forcing Rewa over their line. From the ensuring scrum replacement half back Atunaisa Livanalagi scored Vatukoula's second try.
Patemo Buto scored Vatukoula's third try after a break from centre Lekima Rokolisoa. Kenatale saved his best effort for the last try with Vatukoula running the ball the length of the field after Rewa's attempted penalty fell short. The playmaker dummied inside the Rewa territory and raced in under the cross bar after a big gap opened up.
The visitors scored a consolation try in the dying stages through Mateo Lose.
Rewa coach Watisoni Ratulevu was disappointed with the result.
He said they were still trying to find the best combinations.
"It's a new team with many young boys," Ratulevu said.
"We are trying to find the best combinations because there has been a drain of experience from the squad. There were some injuries in the first half and then the yellow cards did not help as the players had to work overtime. Fitness is of concern. But we hope to improve after a couple of more games."
Vatukoula: Emori Logavatu, Rosivela Toutou, Savenaca Driu, Vilimoni Bari, Malakai Bari, Eroni Qasi, Meli Baivatu, Viliame Logavatu, Sakiusa Rabuli, Sainivalati Kenatale, Patemo Buto, Lepani Raiyala, Lekima Rokolisoa, Josaia Qumi, Manoa Natorogia.
Rewa: Tevita Dave, Uraia Kaci, Inoke Lewen, Tevita Bainivalu, Etuate Suluaqalo, Mitieli Bose, Esala Vakatekau, Jo Tukana, Ifereimi Voivoi, Suliasi Vatulawa, Saula Masilaca, Napolioni Seru, Acura Loco, Joeli Kaviko.