Three down | Nadro makes second half comeback to hold Suva

Suva defense work hard to stop Nadroga's Ilikimi Torosi during their match in the 2023 Inkk Farebrother Challenge 3 at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

In a match that lived up to its hype and expectations, Nadroga retained the INKK Farebrother Sullivan Trophy after fending off a tough challenge from Suva at Sigatoka’s Lawaqa Park yesterday.

Down 15-3 at one stage of the second spell.

Nadroga came back with two tries to tie the scores at 15-all.

The competitions format stated that should the challenge match end in a draw, the holder would retain the trophy and proceed to defend for the next challenge.

Suva effectively blocked out the Stallions’ high-paced running game in the first half with their well-structured game.

Nadroga got on the scoreboard early in the game, after fly-half Joseva Kuricuva slotted in a penalty goal.

The three-week preparations for Suva looked to have paid off when in the 23rd minute, center Epeli Misiamete went over the try line.

Suva continued to pile pressure. Minutes later, prop Vilikesa Nairau extended their lead to 10-3 going into the break.

A good half-time talk by coach Etonia Naba re-ignited the belief and backed by their vocal supporters, the Stallions were a different team altogether in the second spell.

Nadroga brought their aggressive game in the second half, as every hit and every line-break were executed with renewed vigor and determination.

However, it was the Capital City boys who put the first points on the board through flanker Mosese Naiova who powered his way to the try line.

With the game slipping away from Nadroga, Fijian Drua center Apisalome Vota’s try in the 63rd minute brought the game back to life as they trailed 8-15.

With 10 minutes to go, replacement player Sakiusa Vosayaco scored the crucial try and the conversion from Jack Volavola levelled the scores.

Nadroga captain Ratunaisa Navuma said it was a very tough clash against Suva.

“Suva brings in big names for the Farebrother clash. They were very good in their phases and bring the fight to us,” said Navuma.

“We will learn from our mistakes and look forward to facing Nadi next week.” Suva coach Solomone Nute acknowledged the boys for the effort.

“I think we controlled the first half well and in the second half, we didn’t control our phase play, our set-piece play, and they punished us.

“We re-group and look forward to facing them in the semi-finals of the Skipper Cup,” said Nute.

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