13 May, 2018, 10:06 am
WARRIOR Lepani Raiyala scored twice in the corner to help the unbeaten Naitasiri side in its 21-13 win over Nadi in the 2018 Skipper Cup at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori yesterday. Raiyala, who played wing for the Fiji Warriors was in devastating form against the Jetsetters attack. Nadi cordoned off their defence early into the match and did not allow Naitasiri to cross their line.
Nadi scored the first points through the boots of fly half Kavekini Varo from a penalty in the 24th minute. The Koli Sewabu-coached Naitasiri side touched down for their first try through former Fiji under-20 prop Eroni Mawi before half time.
Mawi was involved in a few phases of play in the Nadi territory before he pushed his way to score underneath the post. The try was converted by Kini Douglas. Raiyala, after combining well with his teammates dived over in the corner for Naitasiri’s second try in the 51st minute while Douglas successfully kicked the conversion.
Nadi was awarded a penalty by referee Tevita Rokovereni and hooker Viliame Tui crossed over for Nadi’s try.
In the 77th minute, on the other side of the field it was Naitasiri who called for a scrum after getting a penalty and scrumhalf Adriu Navia Tivitivi decided to play a short pass to Raiyala who scored in the same corner while Douglas made the difficult kick simple, booting another two points.
Wing Jope Tavucuilagi outpaced war horse Nasoni Roko to score Nadi’s second try in the corner, but time was not on their side. Sewabu said they did not stick to their gameplan.
“We did not stick to our gameplan and we still have a lot of work to do to improve the team’s performance and we had a better game in the second half. However, we still need to work hard in the next two weeks against Nadroga and Suva,” he said.
“Lepani got experienced playing for the Fiji Warriors and Fiji Drua squads and the more we got the ball to our flanks the more dangerous we can become to other teams. “When you have a bigger forward pack then you do not want to spread the ball too wide, but keep it and use it to your strength and they did that very well. We need to work hard in terms of staying away from our red zone area.”
Nadi captain and former Fiji 7s utility Samu Saqiwa said the team played for Masi Serubasaga whose mum passed away on Friday, but he still played for his team. “It was a tough game and I salute the boys for their effort in the game,” Saqiwa said.
“Naitasiri was a better team. “I feel sorry for Masi’s family as his mother passed away on Friday and we dedicated the match to her.”