Missed conversion cost Moana Pasifika as Fijian Drua Secure 47-46 Win

Former Wallabies fly-half Christian Lealiifano missed the crucial conversion on the stroke of full-time allowing the Fijian Drua a one-point win, 47-46, in a closely-contested encounter at Lautoka’s Churchill Park today.

With seven tries in the bag by the 56th minute and leading 47-27, the Drua looked like they had the game in the bag. Undeterred Moana responded with three unanswered tries in the last 24 minutes – their third via Samuela Moli was scored in the 80th minute after the Drua were reduced to 14 men following Tuqiri’s yellow card. Moli scored from a rolling maul giving them chances of securing their first win this season. But, Lealiifano missed the conversion, ensuring the Fijian Drua keep their semi-final hopes alive.

The Drua will need to maintain the momentum and win in a similar fashion when they host the Reds in Suva next week for a chance to sneak into the quarter-finals. Moana Pasifika head to Sydney to take on the Waratahs in their final match of the season.

It was a game littered with tries in Lautoka as the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika scored seven tries apiece.

Moana Pasifika took an early lead with Havili scoring a try, but the Fijian Drua quickly responded with Derenalagi crashing over for a try. Masi then showcased his brilliance with a stunning solo try, increasing the Fijian Drua’s lead. Droasese added another try for the Fijian Drua before Lindenmuth and Havili scored tries for Moana Pasifika, narrowing the gap by two points. Eroni Sau and Levi Aumua scored tries for the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika respectively – to see Drua lead by two points – 26-24 – at the breather.

The second half started with a penalty kick from Lealiifano, giving Moana Pasifika a slender one-point lead of 27-26 in the 41st minute. The match continued to be a see-saw battle with both teams showcasing their attacking abilities.

Droasese secured his second try in the 45th minute, regaining the lead for the Fijian Drua at 33-27 after Lomani’s conversion. Masi then stamped his authority on the game, completing a hat-trick with tries in the 53rd and 56th minutes. Lomani converted both tries, extending the Fijian Drua’s lead to 47-27.
Refusing to back down, Moana Pasifika fought back with their three successive tries via Pole, Lealiifano and Moli’s. Lealiifano converted Pole and his own, but could not add the extras for Moli’s, much to the relief of the home crowd as the Drua took the win.

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