Nadi used their forwards to dominate a muddled up Suva side and scored three tries to clinch a decisive 28-11 victory at Albert Park on Saturday.
Led by lock Isei Lewaqai and loose forwards Seta Ratatagia, Kelepi Ketedromo and Mosese Natuilagilagi; the Nadi eight outmuscled and made decisive thrusts into the Suva territory to dominate possession.
Nadi five eighth Jo Tora mixed up his attacks with grubbers, bombs and good distribution to out gun the Suva defence. His grubber in the 31st minute wrong footed the Suva backline with fresh replacement winger Vuniani Ratu latching onto the ball after kicking it twice further onto the tryline.
Tora also kicked a drop goal and varied his attack to outshine the Suva backline who had played superbly last week against Northland; and failed to fire against a strong and fit Jetsetters outfit.
Nadi manager Ilai Korotamana said the Nadi Rugby Union had focused on their forward play in their club competition which was bearing fruit in the provincial level.
“We played well because we prepared well,” Koroitamana said.
“Our club competition is where we have laid down the focus on forward play and today it came through.”
He said the Suva backline played well but there was a lack of co-ordination in the forwards which was their downfall.
Suva Rugby Union president Vilikesa Rauca saluted the Suva team for their gallant effort and said they played really well.
“We’re targeting the top four positions to get into the semi finals and this loss will make us stronger to make it,” he said.
“But I take my hat off to the boys for the effort they put in against a very good Nadi side.”
The 800 plus Suva fans failed to fire up their team which played a lackluster game against the fired up Nadi team.
1 min: Suva kicks off and quickly get a taste of the Nadi strength in the forwards which is heavier compared to the easy running they had last week against Northland.
3 min: Nadi pushed forward and gains 20 metres with charges led by lock Isei Lewaqai and loose trio Seta Ratatagia, Mosese Natuilagilagi and Kelepi Ketedromo.
5 min: Kicking try out between fullbacks with Nadi’s Asaeli Driu kicking a 40 metre whopper within the Suva’s 22 metre with Ben Soso returning with another spiral to put the ball out on the halfway line with Nadi touching the ball, for a Suva throw in.
8 min: Bustling Suva outside centre Vinaya Waka takes on the Nadi defence and break the first line of defence gaining 10 metres but a quick turnover sees Nadi five eighth Tora kick the ball out on the Suva 12 metre line.
10 min: Another Nadi attack sees the Suva defence tested and Nadi’s right winger Usaia Nawaqa is pushed out five metres from the try line.
14 min: Suva gains 20 metres with a drive from the forwards and a break from outside centre Waka to the Nadi 10 metre and Nadi infringe on a ruck for a penalty.
17 min: Waisale Serevi replacing Fuli who is in the blood bin converts the penalty to put Suva ahead:
Suva 3-0 Nadi
20 min: Suva discovers danger from strong forwards and straight running backs from Nadi’s counter offensive with their forwards driving from their own 22 metres all the way to the Suva’s 25 metres.
21 minute: Nadi’s fullback Driu converts a Nadi penalty from 25 metres out after a Suva infringement in a ruck.
Nadi 3-3 Suva
24 min: Suva’s Soso kicks Suva to safety after another Nadi attack threatening the Suva’s 10 metre line.
29 min: Nadi’s Vuniani Ratu replaces Saimone Naboutini on the left wing.
31 min: Fresh legs sees Ratu win a foot race to score Nadi’s first try after a grubber from Jo Tora beats Suva’s first line and puts Ratu in the clear 35 metres out. Ratu kicks the ball twice before he beats two Suva defenders to the try line. Driu converts for Nadi to take the lead.
Nadi 10-3 Suva
35 min: Nadi penalized after Suva’s number eight Sailosi Naiteqe is tackled after punting the ball forward where ball lands 28 metres from Nadi goal line.
Soso converts penalty to take Suva up by three.
Suva 6-10 Nadi
Nadi beginning to lose discipline with another penalty awarded from ensuing kickoff and Suva fullback Soso’s 65 metre attempt drops off a few metres away.
Nadi attack with the ball in hand gaining 40 metres before Suva infringe on a ruck which Nadi fullback
Driu gains another 40 metres to Suva’s 20 metre line.
Nadi attacks from the lineout with bigger forwards to power their way to the tryline and hooker Asaeli Buli going over. Driu converts to put Nadi further ahead.
Nadi 17-6 Suva
Suva scores a forward power play from the kickoff pushing themselves forward with mauls and pick and drives with tight-head prop Lutumailagi going over.
Suva 11-17 Nadi
Summary: Suva’s consistency has been undermined after a solid display against Northland last week, loses focus and fails to provide a platform for the backs to work on.
Nadi instead shows dominance with their forwards and providing the thrust for their backs to have the upper hand. Suva’s scrum needs some drive with the Nadi forwards showing their bigger power.
Outstanding performance from Nadi lock Isei Lewaqai whose bulk and will has a lot of thrust in leading their drives. Seta Ratatagia, Kelepi Ketedromo and Mosese Natuilagilagi and fellow lock Asaeli Tale support well.
Suva’s five-eighth Saiyasi Fuli cops a cut on the head taking a blood bin break in the first quarter which sees Serevi, who played so well last week, get some game time. Suva forwards Fero Daunitutu, Samuela Bola and skipper Dan Ligairi working hard upfront to try to contain the bigger Nadi forwards. Ligairi doesn’t hold back from leading the charge in gaining yardage for the Blues.
The second half sees replacements come in with Suva’s Serevi taking over from Fuli at five-eighth and Siva Ralago replacing Waisea Vatuvoka at the halfback’s berth.
43 min: Game continues to heat up with players continuing to go to the blood bin; Nadi’s Semi Keli comes in for Vata at halfback who comes out to get some attention with a cut on his face.
Suva wins a tighthead on Nadi’s 22 metre line and a quick pass from Ralago allows Serevi to kick the ball out to the Nadi 10 metres.
45 min: Suva pushed back but wins another scrum on Nadi’s 25 metre. Ralago is caught with the ball and Nadi gains metres.
47 min: Suva awarded a penalty on 22 metre line after Nadi all out attack thwarted with handling ball in the ruck. Suva spin the ball out and Serevi kicks the ball full out and hands the ball for a Nadi throw in on 22 metres.
48 min: Ravuama Samo comes in for loosehead prop Meli Nabou and Suva’s Fabiano Basituka replaces Sailosi Naiteqe.
50 min: Suva pounces on Nadi loose ball and attacks the Nadi line with some aggression. Gains about 50 metres before awarded a penalty on Nadi’s 15 metre line. Serevi kicks the ball for a five metre lineout for possible try.
52 min: Suva’s left winger Kuruduadua knocks the ball forward from a pass from Niumaia Cakacaka after a quick lineout and Nadi takes over possession.
55 min: Suva wins a turnover and move forward with another penalty awarded from 10 metres out. Serevi boots it out for another lineout five metres out.
58 min: More replacesments come in with hookers of Nadi Joeli Lotawa coming in for Asaeli Buli and Suva’s Lote Degei coming in for Bese Buinimasi.
60 min: Nadi launches attack from own line to Suva’s 22 metre. Suva foils Nadi ruck on own 22 metres and referee awards penalty to Nadi for fullback Driu to kick to the Suva five metre line.
61 min: Nadi interfere with a ruck and Suva luckily awarded a penalty for Serevi to put the ball out on the 22 metre line.
66 min: Suva almost scored a try but the Nadi defence held and then a counter attack sees Nadi race the whole length of the field with Tora kicking the ball to the Suva tryline and saved by a retreating Suva flanker Samuela Bola booting the ball out.
Nadi’s loose forward Jonacani Batiara and halfback Semi Keli replace Seta Ratatagia and Aporosa Vata.
68 min: Nadi awarded another penalty on Suva’s 30 metre line with Driu kicking in a penalty to put Nadi further ahead:
Nadi 20-11 Suva.
70 min: Suva continues to kick erratically with Soso kicking a ball from his 25 metres line full out for a Nadi lineout to come back into Suva half.
73 min: Suva is in disarray and a quick pass to Nadi five eighth Tora kicks in a drop goal to put Nadi almost out of reach:
Nadi 23-11 Suva.
74 min: Nadi’s loose forward Kelepi Ketedromo is yellow carded for foul play after game continues to take heavy physical toll.
76 min: Full backs Driu kicks one piledriver from his 22 metres to Suva 25 metres and Soso returns the favour to the Nadi half; handled by a Nadi player before spilling out for a Suva throw in.
77 min: Serevi fumbles a ball with the Suva backline ready for launching an attack on the left flank. Nadi turns over possession and attacks the Suva line gaining a quick forty metres from Tora’s kick which the Nadi players regather and after four phases sees the forwards awarded a pushover try for Nadi to take unassailable lead:
Nadi 28-11 Suva
Summary: Suva played well below their potential and allowed the Nadi forwards to dominate which provided the platform for the visitors to score or hand it over to their backs to finish off.
Suva needs to provide better retention for continuity and for backs to come up with more set plays and attack the Nadi backline more creatively. Without the constructive attacks they displayed against Northland; they are easy prey to a strong Nadi backline with the hefty forwards negating most of Suva’s attacks in the trenches.
Nadi has a lot of creative moves with Tora mixing grubbers and bombs which proved effective for the Jetsetters.
Nadi: 1 Meli Nabou, 2 Asaeli Buli, 3 Sikeli Gavidi, 4 Isei Lewaqai, 5 Aseri Tale, 6 Seta Ratatagia, 7 Kelepi Ketedromo, 8 Mosese Natuilagialgi, 9 Aporosa Vata, 10 Jo Tora, 11 Saimoni Matainaboutini, 12 Atunaisa Toga, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 14 Usaia Nawaqa, 15 Asaeli Driu.
Bench: 16 Joeli 17 Ravuama Samo, 18 Apenisa Naevo, 19 Jonacani Batiana, 20 Semi Keli, 21 Paula Tale, 22 Vuniani Ratu.
Suva: 1 Dan Ligairi, 2 Bese Buinimasi, 3 Lutumailagi, 4 Sakaraia Ratugaga, 5 Fero Daunitutu, 6 Mitieli Cama, 7 Samuela Bola, 8 Sailosi Naiteqe, 9 Waisea Vatuvoka, 10 Saiyasi Fuli, 11 Jone Kuruduadua, 12 Sairusi Ranuku, 13 Vinaya Waka, 14 Niumaia Cakacaka, 15 Ben Soso.
Bench: 16 Lote Degei, 17 Rusiate Bakani, 18 Noa Nawaqarua, 19 Fabiano Basituka, 20 Siva Ralago, 21 Waisale Serevi, 22 Osea Kolinisau.