Fijian Drua Work Hard in 80-minute Battle for 24-17 Victory Over Moana Pasifika

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua avenged their previous loss to Moana Pasifika, securing a 24-17 victory in a gruelling 80-minute clash in Lautoka today.

Winger and Player of the Match Taniela Rakuro scored twice, and Selesitino Ravutaumada added one with Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula contributing conversions and a penalty to deny a Moana Pasifika comeback, and maintain their undefeated record at Churchill Park this season.

Centre Iosefo Masi sparked the game with a brilliant linebreak early on, setting up Taniela Rakuro for his first try, and Armstrong-Ravula adding the extras, all within the first two minutes of the spell to put the Drua up 7-0. Seventeen minutes in, the Drua were reduced to 14 players after Mesulame Doge was yellow carded. Despite Doge’s yellow card, the Drua managed to control territory and even scored points during his absence, via a penalty goal by Armstrong-Ravula. Ravutaumada extended the lead with a well-executed chip and chase which he outraced Christian Lealiifano to dot down. The Drua led 17-0 at half-time.

Moana Pasifika fought back in the second half, closing the gap with a try from Henry Taefu and Sione Havili Talitui. However, the Drua maintained their lead, with Rakuro scoring his second try. Moana Pasifika rallied late in the game, scoring another try through Sama Malolo, but the Drua held on to secure the win.

Masi who took over the captaincy role from the 62nd minute of the game after the departure of Meli Derederenalagi and Doge, in the second half, thanked Fiji for the support rendered to the side from the beginning of the competition till date and has asked for continued support for the rest of the season. The Waitabu, Taveuni man says the team is grateful.

The victory over Moana Pasifika also marked his first time taking on the captaincy mantle, as one of the Drua’s four captains alongside Derenalagi, Tevita Ikanivere, and Doge. Masi played the full 80 minutes of the game, stepping into the role in when Derenalagi was subbed in the 81st minute. Doge, who also played, left the field early in second half.

The Fijian Drua remain seventh on the Super Rugby Pacific 2024 standings.

Moana Pasifika defeated the Fijian Drua 39-36 when they last met earlier this season.

DRUA (1-15): Haereiti Hetet, Zuriel Togiatama, Mesake Doge, Isoa Nasilasila, Leone Rotuisolia, Etonia Waqa, Kitione Salawa, Meli Derenalagi (c), Peni Matawalu, Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Taniela Rakuro, Apisalome Vota, Iosefo Masi, Selestino Ravutaumada, Ilaisa Droasese
RESERVES: Mesu Dolokoto, Livai Natave, Samu Tawake, Mesake Vocevoce, Vilive Miramira, Elia Canakaivata, Simione Kuruvoli, Michael Naitokani

PASIFIKA (1-15): Abraham Pole, Samiuela Moli, Sione Mafileo, Tom Savage, Allan Craig, Irie Papuni, Jacob Norris, Sione Havili Talitui (c), Ereatara Enari, William Havili, Fine Inisi, Julian Savea, Henry Taefu. Viliami Fine, Danny Toala
RESERVES: Sama Malolo, Sateki Latu, Sekope Kepu, Ola Tauelangi, Lotu Inisi, Jonathan Taumateine, Christian Lealiifano, Neria Fomai

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