- Fiji News
- Fiji Sports
By ANASILINI RATUVA
Naitasiri defeated Vatukoula 20-15 in round nine of the Digicel Cup competition at Theodore Park yesterday.
Despite the win, coach Reverend Joji Rinakama says fitness remains a concern.
“Most of these players are playing for the first time after seven weeks,”he said.
“I think our only problem was we failed to play the full 80 minutes.
“But we were confident of beating Vatukoula which we did and we were able to match them in all phases of the game.”
Making his return for Naitasiri was Senivalati Vunibola who led his young players and assisted the highlanders to start with a bang. He set up the first try for Dan Ligairi but could not kick the conversion.
Senivalati Kenatale scored the hosts’ first points with a penalty as pressure mounted.
Naitasiri dominated the first half shutting out Vatukoula. Jese Cirikisuva scored their second try but was not converted by John Stewart.
Just before halftime Jo Naisilisili scored Naitasiri’s third try and was converted by Stewart. Halftime: Naitasiri 17 Vatukoula 3.
Stewart converted another penalty in the opening minutes of the second half.
Vatukoula impact players lifted the tempo of the game for the hosts as they scored two tries.
Matai Ucuitabua scored their first try but was not converted by Kenatale. Just minutes before fulltime Lekima Rokolisoa scored their second try under the post and was converted by Kenatale. Full time Naitasiri 20 Vatukoula 15.
Vatukoula head coach Senirusi Seruvakula was impressed with his boys playing the full 80 minutes of rugby.
“This is our first year in the major union and holding a big team like Naitasiri is a big boost for us,”he said.
“I salute my boys for their guts and playing the full 80 minutes was our strength.
“We will play Lautoka next week and one area we will be working on is our defence.”