Tailevu Overcome Yellow-Card Troubles to Secure 25-20 Victory against Macuata in Skipper Cup

Tailevu edged out Macuata with a thrilling 25-20 victory in a yellow-card-littered round two Skipper Cup Competition played under slippery ground conditions, with a packed Ratu Cakobau Park pavilion hosting a boisterous crowd including Macuata supporters who stood out in their vibrant red attires.

Tailevu’s victory was hard-fought, as they played most of the last 20 minutes with a reduced squad due to four yellow cards and surrendered a 19-point lead in the process.

Macuata entered the round two match against Tailevu with renewed confidence after a narrow four-point loss to 2022 Skipper Cup runners-up Naitasiri in front of their home crowd at Subrail Park last weekend.

The loss, by a margin of four points, occurred in front of their home crowd at Subrail Park. Buoyed by their performance, Macuata approached the round two encounter against Tailevu with optimism.

The match started off with early opportunities for both teams to put points on the board. Macuata’s Niko Yalosolo attempted a penalty goal in the 2nd minute, but his effort fell short, leaving the score unchanged. Yalosolo didn’t have to wait long to redeem himself, as he successfully converted a penalty goal in the 7th minute, giving Macuata an early 0-3 lead.

Tailevu responded in the 14th minute, as Marika Baleinaloto stepped up for a penalty goal attempt, but unfortunately, his kick missed the mark. The home team’s determination paid off just five minutes later when Emori Logavatu powered his way over the try line, putting them ahead 5-3.

Macuata fought back, earning a penalty in the 26th minute, which Yalosolo converted, reclaiming the lead 5-6. However, Tailevu’s response was swift, with Semi Degei, the team’s captain, scoring a try in the 35th minute. Epeli Folau added the extra points with a successful conversion, pushing Tailevu ahead at 12-6 as both teams headed into halftime.

The second half began with Tailevu’s Folau confidently slotting in two penalty goals in the 1st and 3rd minutes, extending their lead to 18-6. Macuata’s challenge was further compounded when one of their players received a yellow card, leaving them with a numerical disadvantage.

Tailevu took advantage of the situation, and in the 13th minute, Autiko Domonakibau scored a try, which was converted by Folau, pushing the scoreline to 25-6 in favor of Tailevu. However, Domonakibau found himself in the sin bin shortly after, receiving a yellow card in the 23rd minute.

Despite being a player down, Tailevu’s defense held strong until Macuata’s persistence paid off in the 28th minute. Hammual Murphy crossed the try line for Macuata, with Yalosolo successfully converting the try, narrowing the deficit to 25-13. Tailevu’s challenge grew further when Cavuilati received a yellow card in the 35th minute, just moments after coming on as a replacement.

Tensions escalated in the closing minutes, with Tailevu’s Caginibure shown a yellow card in the 38th minute for a foul on Bradly Navanua. Macuata capitalised on the opportunity, with Navanua scoring their second try, and Yalosolo converting it successfully. However, it wasn’t enough to secure victory as Tailevu held on for their second consecutive win in the competition. Tailevu defeated Namosi in round one 18-15.

In other matches played this weekend, Nadroga secured a 26-10 win over Namosi. Naitasiri defeated Nadi, while Suva triumphed over Yasawa 35-23.

The upcoming weekend will see a break in the Skipper Cup competition as the Fiji Water Flying Fijians prepare to face Tonga at Lautoka’s Churchill Park.

The Skipper Cup competition will resume on July 29 with Nadroga hosting Tailevu at Lawaqa Park, while Macuata will take on Yasawa in their second home game at Subrail Park. Suva will have the advantage of playing at the HFC Stadium as they face Nadi, and Naitasiri will go head-to-head with Namosi at the Rt Cakobau Park.

Tailevu 25-20 Macuata
Skipper Cup Competition Round 2
Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori

Scoring Sequence
2mins PEN GOAL MACUATA, Niko Yalosolo unsuccessful
7mins PEN GOAL Macuata, Yalosolo – 0-3
14mins PEN GOAL TAILEVU, Marika Baleinaloto unsuccessful
19mins TRY TAILEVU, Emori Logavatu 5-3
26mins PEN GOAL, MACUATA, Yalosolo 5-6
35mins TRY TAILEVU Semi Degei, CONV Epeli Folau – 12-6
Halftime: 12-6
41min PEN GOAL, Tailevu Folau 15-6
43min PEN GOAL, Tailevu Folau 18-6
YC Macuata
53min TRY TAILEVU Autiko Domonakibau, CONV Folau 25-6
63min YC TAILEVU Domonakibau
65min YC TAILEVU Natau
68min TRY MACUATA Hammual Murphy, CONV Yalosolo – 25-13
75min YC TAILEVU Cavuilati
78min YC TAILEVU Caginibure
79min TRY MACUATA Navanua; CONV Yalosolo – 25-20

TAILEVU: (1-15) Asivorosi Tora, Sevanaia Rokotuinaceva, Aseri Robarobalevu, Emori Logavatu, Sakaraia Tukuca, Marika Natau, Manueli Laqai, Semi Degei (C), Autiko Dominakibau, Epeli Fatai Folau, Taniela Mataki, Jiuta Waqa, Tevita Ravato, Viliame Kanatabua, Marika Baleinaloto
Subs: Norani Vunakece, Saiasi Koroi, Vio Ralagi, Joseva Vakarewa, Kalioni Caginibure, Nemani Cavuilati, Lemeki Jnr, Ifereimi Kunaika

MACUATA: (1-15) Anasa Molisadrau, Emosi Navua, Tomasi Baleitotoya, Rt Meli Caniogo, Kolaia Malamala (VC), Kelemete Koroidimuri, Joshua V, Ravieli Tamani, Atama Raqili, Niko Yalosolo, Viliame Kotoilakeba, Viliame Navanua, Hammual Murphy, Epeli Rakosakosa, Viliame Maiono (C)
Subs: Emosi Bukasoqosoqo, Paula Naiceru, Ilaisa Vunibola, Bradly Navanua, Jese Vakalulubogi, Timoci Tuiwainunu, Sitivei Saukelo, Joni Koroilagilagi

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