Fijian ruggers impress at T14
With most of our Francebased players engaged during the Test clash against England on Sunday, it was an opportune time for other Fijian players to show their worth during the weekend’s Top 14 competition. Leading the charge were former Vodafone Fijians 7s forward Seremaia Burotu and veteran centre Gabirieli Lovobalavu. Here is how they perform;
BUROTU TRY LIFTS BRIVE
Former Vodafone Fijian 7s forward Seremaia Burotu crashed over for a try as Brive walloped Pau 38-25 at Stade Amédée Domenech. The hosts led 13-8 at the interval thanks to Benjamin Lapeyre’s try and eight points from the boot of full-back Gaetan Germain. Further tries from Burotu, Nicolas Bezy and Takudzwa Ngwenya saw them keep Pau, whose try-scorers were Charly Malie, Chris King and Marvin Lestremau, out of reach as the visitors go home without even a losing bonus-point for their efforts. Burotu combined well with winger Sevanaia Galala while Pau had Watisoni Votu and Jale Vatubua.
LOVOBALAVU’S BAYONNE MOVE UP
Bayonne with classy Fijian second five eighth Gabirieli Lovobalavu claimed a priceless 16-13 win over Toulouse at Stade Jean Dauger. The win lifts them off the bottom of the standings. This was just their third triumph of the season and was hard-earned as Toulouse missed the chance to get amongst the playoff positions. Big Semi Kunatani was put on the wing for Toulouse. It was a tied ball-game at 13 apiece by the turnaround as Bayonne managed to claw themselves back from 0-10 down with a spirited response. Bayonne scrum-half Manu Saubusse missed an early penalty and Toulouse number eight Gillian Galan made him pay when he barged over from close-range. With Sébastien Bezy’s conversion flying over, the visitors were 0-7 in front in atrocious weather conditions in France.
NAGUSA SCORES, MONTPELLIER LOSE
Stade Français claimed a 21-17 victory over Montpellier at Stade Jean Bouin in a result that pulls them away from the basement. Former Vodafone Flying Fijian winger Timoci Nagusa scored for Montpellier but it was in vain while Josaia Wini came in as a late substitute for Stade Francais.
Jules Plisson was the shining light for the hosts as he slotted seven penalties, meaning two-try Montpellier came up short in the contest. Stade Français struck first in Paris as a Plisson penalty gave them a 3-0 buffer against an outfit 10 points in the league ahead of them before kick-off. As expected it was a cagey affair and there was some needle too, with Montpellier lock Jacques Du Plessis sent to the sin-bin on 15 minutes by referee Salem Attalah for striking Stade Français flanker Sylvain Nicolas. The visitors survived that period though as it remained 3-0.
NALAGA’S LYON FALL SHORT
Clermont stay top of the pile in France as they edged out Lyon thanks to a last-minute drop-goal from scrum-half Morgan Parra as they raced to a 16-13 win. JacquesLouis Potgieter put Lyon 0-3 in front early on before Parra landed two penalty goals for a 6-3 cushion at the turnaround. Arthur Iturria went over for the game’s first try on 44 minutes, which was converted by Parra, as Clermont pushed 13-3 in front. Burly winger Napolioni Nalaga toiled hard for Lyon against his former club. Potgieter then slotted a penalty and when Baptiste Couilloud scored a converted try, suddenly Lyon were level on 66 minutes. But with time all but up, Parra was once again the hero for his club side as he sent over a late drop-goal that won the contest.
ROKOCOKO STARS IN RACING WIN
Racing 92 with elusive Fijian-born All Blacks winger Joe Rokocoko claimed their seventh win of the Top 14 season as they edged out a spirited Grenoble side 29-24 at Stade Yves du Manoir. First-half tries from Yannick Nyanga and Dimitri Szarzewski to Fabien Alexandre’s effort for Grenoble made it 14-10 at the break. Grenoble fielded Edward Sawailau who put on a sterling performance. Francois van der Merwe and Henry Chavancy added tries three and four for Clermont in the second period, with Laurent Bouchet and Chris Farrell crossing for Grenoble but they came up just short of their hosts, who are now seventh in the league standings.
Joe Rokococko. Timoci Nagusa
Napolioni Nalaga on the burst for Lyon.