Highlanders Score Big Win
The Naitasiri rugby team recorded their highest score line in the 2016 Skipper Cup competition when they thrashed Tailevu 68-26 at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori yesterday. The Highlanders have booked a home semifinal where they take on defending champions Nadroga.
What happened: Naitasiri dominated the first half with good ball control as they exploited Tailevu’s poor defence. Noa Sisiwa drew first blood in the third minute with a try and followed by a successful conversion from Etonia Rokotuisawa to lead 7-0. Tailevu who looked uneasy made basic mistakes costing them possession. A break down in the ruck near Tailevu’s try line saw Naitasiri being given a penalty try and another successful conversion from Rokotuisawa extended their lead, 14-0. In the 14th minute, Patemeo Boto went over to score another try for Naitasiri, 19-0. Rokotuisawa scored two tries in the 16th and 19th minute, successfully converting both to extend their lead 33-0. In the 29th minute, Tailevu came back with three tries to Maika Baleinatoto, Kameli Ratuvou and Sailosi Tale. A penalty kick and conversion from Baleinatoto closed the gap to 33-20 at half time.
Half time: Naitasiri 33-20 Tailevu
The second spell saw Tailevu settled down and gave Naitasiri a hard time and making them work harder to score tries. Naitasiri’s Sisiwa scored his second try with an extra two points coming from Rokotuisawa’s boots, 40-20. Finding it hard to penetrate the Naitasiri defence, Tailevu settled for any opportunity to gain points as Baleinatoto put three points on the score board from a penalty, 40-23. Naitasiri dominated once again powering their way down to the try line with two tries from Dan Ligairi and Vilimoni Seru with Rokotuisawa adding four points from his boot, 54-23.
Tailevu struggled to gain control and make any play.
Tailevu’s Baleinatoto added another three points from a penalty kick, 54-26. With the clock ticking down, Rokotuisawa and Sisiwa got a hat trick each to end the game 6826. Big Play: Naitasiri were strong in defence and dominated for most of the game. Star turn: Rokotuisawa added 18 points from his boots and 15 points from three tries to a tally of 33. Comments Naitasiri coach Reverend Jioji Rinakama: “It was a good game and I am very happy with the way the boys played. “This will be a huge boost for us going into the semifinals which will be really tough. “They played to the game plan we set out for them and dominated most of the game which is what we want. “The competition has gotten really tough and we need to keep improving in each game so from here we can only go up.” Tailevu coach Samisoni Baikeitoga: “Despite the huge loss I am still proud of the boys and the way they played. “They stuck to the game plan and they have really improved from the first game we played up until now. “We have all new players and it has not only been about winning but about developing our players and I know in two years from now Tailevu will be a force to be reckoned with if we keep improving each season and in every game.”
Naitasiri rugby players celebrate their big win at Ratu Cakobau Park yesterday.