Naitasiri defeats newcomers Malolo

TWO missed penalties and conversions cost Malolo their third win yesterday in the third round of Fiji’s provincial rugby competition.

Two tries from their winger Aminiasi Tuimaba and outside centre Meli Qaniuci were not converted along with two penalties taking away a total of 10 points from the men in white allowing Naitasiri to win the game by 21-13 in the Skipper Cup at Ratu Cakobau Park.

In a close encounter Malolo had their points up on the scoreboard first with a penalty kick from former Nadroga fly-half Jiuta Lutumailagi after an earlier missed attempt for a 3-0 lead. However, Naitasiri used their heavy forwards to bulldoze their way through the Malolo defence for Dan Ligairi to score a double in the 11th and 16th minutes before being flashed a yellow card.

Malolo retaliated with structured rugby to see their winger Tuimaba going for their first try to close in on the gap, 8-12 as Naitasiri led.

Malolo scored their second try at the second spell after a chip kick from Lutumailagi allowing Qaniuci to dot the try but the Highlanders made use of the penalties going for three to end the game with a 21-13 win. Malolo coach and former national rep Mosese Volavola said he was grateful to his brigade for holding on to an experienced highlander’s side not giving them a chance to go for a bonus win.

“I thank Naitasiri for giving us a good game and also my team for the gallant effort and not forgetting the Tui Lawa and the supporters for coming out in numbers today,” the former Nadroga skipper said.

Meanwhile his former mentor and now Naitasiri coach Joji Rinakama said they could have scored more tries but wrong decisions prevented that from happening.

“These are the kinds of teams where we shouldn’t give them an inch or a chance to work on. They have speed and having Jiuta who can change the game with his experience, I know for us some decision-making and chances to score were not met, we could have scored many tries today but wrong decisions stopped us,” Rinakama said.

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