Tuberi nails late winner for Bears

Iliesa Cakau of Army Bears roffloads in the Police Sharks defence during their rugby league match of the FMF Ratu Sukuna Bowl rugby competition at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva on Friday, November 25, 2022. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THE Army Bears have interchange player Peni Tuberi to thank after his field goal allowed the men from Delainabua to take home the FMF Ratu Sukuna Bowl rugby league title from holders Police Sharks.

Tuberi’s 30-metre drop goal for the 15-14 victory in front of a big crowd at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva yesterday came in the dying minutes of an nail-biting contest.

The Sharks took an early lead after Apimeleki Lutuimawi braved the Bears defence to score and Sevanaia Galala putting over the extra two points for a 6-0 lead.

Bears playmaker Ilikena Niumataiwalu the took the opportunity for a two points to close the gap to 2-6 after the Sharks were caught offside.

Former Fiji Bati player Ilisivani Jegesa, who came in as interchange, put the Bears further ahead with a try under the post to give Niumataiwalu an easy two points. The Bears lead 8-6.

An exchange of two-pointers from the boots of Niumataiwalu and Galala put the score at 10-8 to the Bears at the breather.

The Nasova brigade changed their game plan in the second half to play in Army’s half.

Filimoni Yawayawa collected the ball from a smooth pass from halfback Jonetani Tuvasa and found his way to the tryline and converted his own try. Police regained the lead 14-10.

The Bears put pressure on the Sharks which resulted in two penalties which Niumaitaiwalu converted to level the scores at 14-all.

Tuberi saved the best for last with his field goal.

Teams

Sharks:

Aminiasi Bibi, Mosese Rova, Kemueli Mocelutu, Ravuni Uluilakeba, Asaeli Boseiwaqa, Iliesa Salauca, Jonetani Tuvasu, Sevanaia Galala, Apimeleki Lutuimawi, Sateki Umu, Lasaro Turagadrau, Maikeli Peters, Waisea Nasekai, Filipo Talei, Inia Tobua

Interchange:

Aminiasi Beta, Josua Roko, Filimoni Yawayawa, Apenisa Canasau, Joeli Dulaki

Bears:

Samuela Yalisaya, Josua Waqavesi, Alipate Gonerogo, Aaron Vadiga, Eremasi Vesikalou, Inia Ligava, Ilikena Niumataiwalu, Eseroma Melokibau, Jale Lagidela, Apenisa Tawakerua, Sanaiala Vala, Marika Tagicakibau, Iliesa Cakau, Mosese Rokobera, Josateki Mocevakaca

Interchange:

Rovuama Vakatuturagania, Malakai Vakacegu, Peni Tuberi, Poate Rasekaseka, Ilisevani Jegesa

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