Drua books home semis

Fiji Airways Drua player Levani Kurumudu scores a try against Canberra Vikings during their match in the National Rugby Championship at Churchill Park Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

FIJI Airways Drua maintained its unbeaten home record in the National Rugby Championship after a hard fought 40-35 victory against Canberra Vikings at Churchill Park in Lautoka yesterday.

The bonus point win is an important one for Fiji Drua as the side pushes for a home semi-final which could be sealed if the other results from this weekend’s round falls in their favour.

Canberra Vikings took a shock lead in the first ten minutes however Fiji Drua hit back with their sublime pattern with slick passing at pace blowing the Canberra Vikings defence apart scoring five tries in less than 30 minutes to post a handy 33-7 advantage. Fiji Drua led 33-14 at half time.

Canberra Vikings bounced back in the second spell running in three converted tries to regain the lead before Lepani Kurumudu scored the decisive try for Fiji Drua in the 60th minute and then survived a strong final surge from the visitors to gain victory.

While Fiji Drua coach Senirusi Seruvakula gladly accepted the maximum points from the fixture, he expressed disappointment with the unnecessary off-loading as the players opted to switch to open style of rugby.

Seruvakula said the players need to have patience and keep their options open.

“A win is a win but it was a disappointing game for us,” he said.

“We made a lot of errors in the second half and we can’t afford to do that at this level. We need to play smart.

“They need to have patience and keep possession at all times. We can’t play open rugby for the whole 80 minutes.

“With a big point advantage they start to believe that they throw the ball around from our red zone.

“There are times when you need to throw the ball but there are times when you can’t afford to throw the 50 50 passes.

“Sometimes it affects us as there is a turnover and the opposition turns up scoring tries.”

Captain Mosese Voka received a yellow card in the 74th minute and Fiji Drua finished the match with 14 players.

Canberra Vikings coach Nick Scrivener said their first half performance was disappointing. He said Fiji Drua took advantage of their mistakes to post 33 points. “We allowed Fiji Drua to do what they do best,” Scrivener said.

“We just gave away too many opportunities especially in the first half and those 33 points just came off our mistakes.

“The ball was very slippery because of the moisture and so was the Fiji Drua.

“At the end of the first half it was like a mountain to climb, but we did well in the second spell to get ourselves back and actually lead.

“We had to do that because of what happened in the first half.

“The message at half time was to tighten up, control the ball better and get more field possession. We showed character to get back and I think we dropped the ball over the line towards the end of the match.

“We need to beat Brisbane to make the semi-finals so there is everything to play for.”

Fiji Drua will play the Force away in Australia next week.

Points: Fiji Drua– Tries (Apisolome Waqatabu 2, Levani Kurumudu 2, Alivereti Veitokani, Aporosa Tabulawaki), Conversions (Waqatabu 4, Veitokani 1). Canberra Vikings– Tries(Jordan Jackson-Hope 2, Len Ikitau, Joe Rowell, Brodie Leber), Conversions (Wharenui Hawera 5).

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