EXPERIENCE made the difference when Skipper Cup defending champion Suva edged Tailevu 15-10 in the first round of the competition at the Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori yesterday.
Both teams equally shared possession throughout the match but Suva had the experienced players in their backline such as John Stewart, Ratu Meli Kurisaru, and Enele Malele who kicked long territory kicks to drive the Tailevu side back to their 22-metre line.
The two teams showed immense strength in the scrum, with the Flying Fijians front rowers Eroni Mawi, Mesulame Dolokoto and Luke Tagi driving the Tailevu forward packs back but that didn’t stop the hosts from switching their game-plan and gained their strength in the mauls to drive the Suva forwards back.
Suva’s blindside wing Setareki Raoba dived over in the corner in the 20th minute of the first half to put Suva in a 5-0 lead. Malele missed the conversion but was successful with a penalty for Suva in the 35th minute of play to extend their lead to 8-0 at the half-time break.
Tailevu number eight Mosese Naiova scored the first try in the second half that boosted the team’s performance trailing by 8-5.
However with 10 minutes remaining the two teams scored a try each from Suva’s replacement forward Apolosi Tora and Tailevu’s impact forward Simione Bolaroro.
Malele’s boots made the difference kicking a conversion and a penalty but Tailevu missed a couple during the match.
In other Skipper Cup matches played yesterday Northland defeated Rewa 16-12 and Nadi thrashed Nadroga 40-18.