It Was On Time: Ref Tells Northland
Referee Samuela Tuidraki stood by his call yesterday that he blew the final whistle right on time. This was after HFC Bank Farebrother Trophy champions BLK Nadroga escaped with a narrow 24-17 win over Northland at Prince Charles Park, Nadi. The Northland Rugby Union executives confronted match commissioner Jova Uluivuda after Tuidraki blew the final whistle claiming that they still had 10 more minutes of play left. “It was time on the clock, we did stop the clock where there were stoppages due to injuries,” Tuidraki told SUNsports. Northland prop Sireli Ledua alleged that they were robbed of a win. “Our time says there was another 10 minutes of injury time left on the clock but it has been cut short,” he said. Nadroga skipper Sekonaia Kalou said the win was for the late Turaga Na Kalevu Ratu Kinijioji Vosailagi who passed away on Monday.
What happened: The Stallions dominated play and in the third minute hooker Ratunaisa Navuma scored their first try which was converted by Jonetani Ralulu for a 7-0 lead. In the 18th minute No.8 Nemani Nagusa scored as Northland were kicking away possession and this worked in Nadroga’s favour. Half time: Nadroga 12- 0 Northland. Three minutes into the second spell Northland’s Isimeleki Leiloma kicked their first points of the match as they trailed 12-3. Two minutes later lighting winger Akaravi Nabati scored in the corner for Nadroga as they increased their lead to 17-3. In the 51st minute Northland No.8 Jolame Bera scored a try after great play from the forwards, which Leiloma converted to close the gap 17-10. Nadroga lock Manoa Tamaya ran in a try near the post which was converted as they enjoyed a 24-10 lead. Northland came back strongly and in the 79th minute replacement flanker Sikeli Rokosuka dived over for a try which was converted by Leiloma but it was too late.
Big plays: Nadroga hooker Navuma was a livewire and was always in the thick of things
Star turn: Akariva Nabati put on a man of the match performance as he walked away with $250. Comments Nadroga captain Sekonaia Kalou said: “We thank Northland for giving us a good game as it was a tough encounter. “We did not underestimate any team as they are in the top eight. The score line did not come as a surprise.” Northland captain Sireli Ledua
said: “We had been preparing for this match. To us there was another 10 minutes of injury time left on the clock but it has been cut short.”