Highlanders spoil Fijian Drua Super Rugby homecoming

The Highlanders defeated the Fijian Drua 27-24 in a game of two halves, spoiling their homecoming match in front of a boisterous home crowd at the ANZ Stadium in Suva today.

Three tries in the first half to the Highlanders’ two, and the Drua led by six points, with the scores 24-17 at the breather, but into the second half, they were no match for the Highlanders who showed their experience to slot in the only points of the half, whilst keeping the hosts scoreless with a great defensive game to seal the victory.

Highlanders captain Aaron Smith said it was a tough game, nothing short of their expectations knowing that the Fijian Drua had the backing of the crowd, crediting his forwards for the win.

Playing in front of the home crowd, the Drua notched a first since their SRP debut in February in scoring a try within three minutes of the first half via Frank Lomani, feeding off from winger Vinaya Habosi who showed his speed on the far left side of the field.

Habosi’s opposite Sam Gilbert reciprocated with a try that was converted by Mitch Hunt to level scores 7-all in the eighth minute of play. Less than eight minutes later, Habosi restored the lead for the Fijian Drua with a try, before Hunt narrowed it down to four points via a successful penalty kick. Kalaveti Ravouvou scored the Drua’s third before the Highlanders reciprocated with a try by lock Bryn Evans into the final 10 minutes of the first half.

Into the second half, Hunt narrowed the gap further with a penalty goal before the try by Rhys Marshall around the 60th minute of play saw them, for the first time, take the lead which they maintained through the final whistle.

Habosi was named man of the match.

The win is the Highlanders second in the Super Rugby Pacific competition, the first being over Drua’s fellow newbie Moana Pasifika in round eight which they won 31-17. They take on the Reds next week.

The Drua, with their lone win 31-26 over the Rebels in Round 3 early March, face the Hurricanes next.

Foodie Night 1327x198 ad(1)
Top Stories