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New off-load king

Maikeli Seru
Monday, February 05, 2018

FIJIAN rugby trademark off-loads hit international limelight again yesterday when Fiji Airways Fiji 7s reps, Kalione Nasoko and Alosio Naduva combined twice to score the winning tries for Fiji in the Cup final of the Hamilton 7s in New Zealand last night.

The tries helped Fiji win the inaugural tournament after beating South Africa 24-17 in an epic final.

"We secretly planned to have our own combination because I knew Naduva is a fast man and if I created space for him properly, he would score," Nasoko said.

"I did not expect for us to score two tries, but I thank God that today (Sunday) the Lord helped me off-load to him at the right time, not once but twice, to help us win. I am happy that I contributed to the win."

The final did not start in Fiji's favour after prop Josua Vakurinabili was sin binned for dangerous play.

South Africa capitalised in the second minute by sending Kwagga Smith for the firdst try. They led 5-0.

Four minutes later, Naduva, the man in the only green boots in the final, ran around the Blitzboke defence to level scores 5-all.

A minute later South Africa skipper Kyle Brown put his side further with an unconverted try before Branco du Preez ended the first half with his try for 17-5 at half time.

Naduva and Nasoko struck when play resumed. Nasoko basically sucked in two defenders and off-loaded to Naduva 22 metres away from the tryline for the small speedster's second touchdown.

Fiji 12- 17South Africa.

They struck again a minute later in similar fashion to see scores 17-19 before Eroni Sau crossed over for the final try to see Fiji winning its first tournament in the ongoing series 24-19.

"I am very happy, and I commended the players for their hard work," coach Baber said.

"It is the hard work of the players that gave us victory."

One of the first to congratulate the national side was Samoa coach Sir Gordon Tietjens.

"I am happy for them and at least the title stayed on our side," he said.

"They have been coming close to winning and this time they deserve it."

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