SUNIA Bainivalu kicked a penalty to save Tailevu from the jaws of defeat against Suva during round three of the Digicel Cup competition at the National Stadium yesterday.
The green machine, playing with a man down, edged Suva 16-15 to continue its good form this season. Tailevu's inside centre Manueli Gade was given his marching orders after coping two yellow cards.
Bainivalu was unsuccessful with two drop goals in the dying minutes of the game when Tailevu was attacking Suva's tryline. The nippy playmaker was fortunate to be awarded with a late penalty in injury time. Tailevu trailed the capital side 13-15 when Banivalu, who came on as a substitute in the second spell, took his time to strike the ball above the uprights and deny the home team victory in front of their fans.
A try from Tailevu skipper and number eight Eseria Vueti was enough for the visitors to clinch four competition points from the game. Suva's points came from the boots of fullback Emosi Mulevoro and flyhalf Kaminieli Neiqisa.
Fiji sevens playmaker Nikola Matalau was busy in organising Suva's forwards and backs during attacks and his speed off the mark was exceptional. However the Naval officer could not do enough to help his side earn a victory.
Tailevu coach Lance Whippy said playing smart rugby gave them the victory against last year's finalist.
Whippy congratulated his troops for playing till the final whistle.
"It was a good game, a very good performance from both sides. We made use of the opportunities and sometimes created our own which led to the points we scored," he said.
"But we still need to get a few things right especially the basics, refine few things which could be our strength in future games.
"This is only our second game and we still need to work on a lot of things and adapt to the game and build from here as we move one.
"In the first half, we played against the wind but we utilised the wind well in the second half. It is about just being smart in executing things out there."
Gracious in defeat, Suva team manager Samisoni Waqavatu said indiscipline proved costly for his side.
"Congratulations to Tailevu for the win. It was a tough game for us but I believe the lack of discipline let us down today (yesterday)," Waqavatu said.