Aggression Key to Northland Win
Aggression was Northland’s trump card as they outclassed Lautoka 26-10 in their Skipper Cup encounter at Nadovu Park, Lautoka, yesterday.
Added to this, the visitors’ speedy backline made numerous inroads through the Lautoka defence throughout the match.
What happened: Northland entered the match with that determination to win and did not allow the home side find their rhythm. Their loss last week to Suva was in their minds and was a reminder to them all week during training. Northland drew first blood in the 15th minute when centre Manasa Vunitakali scored and inspirational halfback Imeleki Tuileloma converting to give them a 7-0 lead.
Lautoka replied not long after when prop Tevita Delailomaloma barged over in the corner to narrow the gap, 7-5 with the conversion going astray. Not to be outdone, Northland hooker Epeli Ledua barged over for his try following a penalty which Northland used to kick for touch. Through the ensuing lineout, Northland controlled the ball in the forwards to score. The conversion failed and Northland led 12-5 at the break.
Halftime: During the break, Lautoka coach and former international Ifereimi Rawaqa stressed for more communication from his players and for the backs and forwards to complement each other. Two minutes after the break, Lautoka’s backline started to look good with passes gaining them momentum. However, as was the story of their game, drop passes and loose giveaways proved their downfall as Northland capitalised on a move that went wrong. A loose pass was picked up by Northland which saw inside centre Nasoni Nasedra dart untouched to score and Tuileloma converting for the visitors to stretch their lead to 19-5. Lautoka came back towards the latter stages of the match following a yellow card offence against Northland. From the lineout five metres out, Lautoka started a maul and from a ruck, Vukimatana dived over to score. The conversion missed with the score at 19-10. Northland had the last say when
another loose pass was pounced upon by Tuileloma who scored and converted bringing the final score to 26-10. Big play: Northland’s determination and aggression in all facets of the game. Comments Lautoka coach Ifereimi Rawaqa said the basics let the team down. “There was too much loose passes and the boys gave away too many penalties,” he said. Northland coach Timoci Tuinaviti said they were determined, especially after their loss to Suva. “I told the boys we will go and defeat Lautoka on their home ground. “We played according to the game plan.”