Suva in for a treat
29 July, 2017, 12:00 am
SAIASI Fuli’s Suva rugby side have one advantage over Naitasiri and Namosi during their HFC Bank Farebrother Challenge at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka today.
They are the only team that have beaten the Stallions this season and they know they can do it again if they drum up enough confidence in their rugby abilities. Even though they were crushed 35-12 in the Skipper Cup semi-final, they only have to strengthen their scrums and defensive lines to stop Nadroga’s bushfire attacking prowess.
Suva do not have the crowd support that other provincial teams have and most of the time they have to rely on the experience and self-confidence of senior players to carry them through.
Again, it will be a kicking duel between Apisalome Waqatabu and the Suva kickers, but history has shown that goalkicking is not enough to win games.
Over the years good tactical kickers such as Waisale Serevi, Emosi Mulevoro have helped in pinning the champions in their half giving the advantage to Suva to kick more goals and score points.
Last week Naitasiri took the challenge to the champions and came within a whisker of taking the trophy. The other week Namosi did likewise and rattled Nadroga by leading 12-7 at halftime after taking on the champions up front in rucks and mauls.
Perhaps Suva will surprise the rugby fans by playing the open rugby style they adopted in the Skipper Cup round when they won at Bidesi Ground under wet conditions.
Nadroga coaches Esala Nauga and Jonetani Waqa have outwitted the opposition by keeping the opposition guessing.
The introduction of Mitieli Nacagilevu at fullback and moving of Waqatabu to first-five was a master stroke.
Nadroga’s backline has a lot of depth and wearing that white jersey at Lawaqa Park in front of your families and fans is a great achievement and you have to play above your best and show a lot of courage and prove yourself.
So far Namosi and Naitasiri have provided the spice in local rugby by pushing the defending champions to the wire and given the scare to Nadroga rugby fans.
Koli Sewabu’s Naitasiri did well to stay on until the final whistle by having the final say with a penalty try and 19-26 and had fans on the edge of their seats.
The new rugby laws on tackling have seen more players in the sin bin and teams that adjust better have the advantage, but Nadroga have given away penalties and had players yellow carded in a row and they still maintained their dominance.
If Suva can find a way around that loophole and work on their numerical advantage they should score some points as they should.
For Suva to beat Nadroga they have to match them physically in attack and defence and play smart rugby plus that essential element — tons of guts.