Lautoka defends Vanua Trophy

Lautoka retain the Vanua Trophy after beating Rewa at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Lautoka Maroons defeated a very strong Rewa side in the Nivea Vanua Trophy Challenge match by 19-7 at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka yesterday.

Maroons got on the score board early in the match, after captain Apakuki Vuaviri went over for a try to lead 7-0.

Minutes later, Sunia Talebula, younger brother of former Fiji 7s playmaker Metuisela Talebula, who started at fly-half for the Maroons, went over the line after the couple of good phases of play.

Lautoka looked more dominant with their free-flowing game plus good set-piece plays combined with excellent kicking game.

Rewa, on the other hand, were strong at the breakdown and relied heavily on their forwards pack to set up moves for them.

Thirteen minutes from half-time, hooker Jokini Love scored a try for Rewa to reduce the deficit to 7-12 going into the break.

The Maroons continued with their strong off-loading game in the second spell as well. The Maroons had a good opportunity to extend their lead in the 48th-minute through a penalty kick, however, Talebula’s attempt at goal went wide.

The Peniona Ranitu-coached side worked hard at the breakdown and forced the Rewa defence to commit a number of infringements at their try line, as the match referee awarded them with a penalty try.

Rewa had some opportunities to put points on the board, however, a strong Maroons defence held their line. Lautoka assistant coach Viliame Satala Jr said the boys put on a much better performance in comparison to their narrow win against Northland last week.

“We set the pace of the game early and I am happy with a win, however, their is a lot to improve on before we face Ba next week,” he said.

Satala Jr said they needed to improve on their line-outs.

The Lautoka Maroons will face Vodafone Vanua Championship finalist Ba next weekend in their final defence for the trophy.

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