The Fijian Drua have come out winners in the Super Rugby clash called ‘Battle of the Pacific’ as they outscored the sloppier Moana Pasifika 34-19 on Saturday.
It was the Drua who capitalised possession and were ahead with two unanswered tries, never looking back from there on.
Moana Pasifika trailed 24-12 at halftime and showed glimpses of a comeback when a beautiful crossfield kick from Danny Toala set up a try for Timoci Tavatavanawai after 56 minutes.
However, the Drua regained control of the game and centre Apisalome Vota’s second try of the game after 69 minutes sealed the deal.
Fijian wing Tavatavanawai was again the best on show for Moana Pasifika, bumping past defenders on several occasions.
For the Drua, wing Vinaya Habosi again showed his quality with a scorching long-range try down the left edge after capitalising on a Moana Pasifika mistake.
Moana Pasifika had the better forward line-up and during the moments they kept the ball either in rucks or in a rolling maul, they were doing damage.
The Drua again showed that they did not require a set piece to set up a try.
The stadium in Sydney was an all islands affair as Fijian, Samoan and Tongan flags waved throughout the stands.
Drua captain Meli Derenalagi said the defeat at the hands of the Hurricanes was an eye opener. He said the players were focused and knew what
had to be done to pull off a win.
“I would like to thank the Lord and since this was the battle of the Pacific, I would like to thank the Moana Pasifika for giving us a tough game. The boys did the hard yards during the week,” he said.
“It was the effort that we gave into preparation for this week. We switched our mindsets from the loss last week to the game this week. We encouraged each other and motivated each other.”
Moana Pasifika captain Sekope Kepu was back home in Sydney so the match was a special one for him, but he did not mince words when he said there were no excuses for the loss.
“It was a special day for rugby especially for Polynesian people. Obviously disappointing results for us, we know we are better than that. Credit to the Drua team, they took it to us and they got the biscuits but we will go back from this and we will learn from this,” said Kepu after the game.
“Couple of those early tries and you know the bounce of the ball can be cruel sometimes but that is Fijian style of rugby, they pounce on every opportunity they get. We knew that if we kept in the forwards we would have scored a few more tries.
“But hey no excuses, the Drua were the better team today. They have been building for months so well done to them.”
The Moana Pasifika will face the Reds this week while the Drua take on the Crusaders.