Matarugu savours win for Army women ruggers

Police fullback, Mereani Rogasau is heavily dumped to the ground by Army's Meredani Qoro during their FMF Ratu Sukuna Bowl womens rugby match at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva on Friday, November 25, 2022. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

LIVEWIRE hooker Vika Matarugu led her side to a historic victory for the Army side in the first women’s rugby competition for the Ratu Sukuna Bowl at the HFC Bank Stadium yesterday.

Army won 13-7.

The Fijiana Drua player and member of the Fijiana 15s team at the Women’s Rugby World Cup this year was emotional after the game.

She said time was against them as they prepared for the rugby competition.

“Most of us were part of the RWC and the Army rugby in the Forces Championship in Australia and putting together a team at a short time is a challenge,” the 28-year-old said.

Giant prop Talei Toga crashed her way through the Police defence. Merewalesi Rokouono failed to convert the two points.

Vitalini Mirini, who was the player of the match, scored Army’s second try in the second half before Rokouono sloted a penalty to clinch the title.

“I want to thank the Lord for giving us the strength and for the girls to play together as a unit,” Matarugu said.

“Playing our first Sukuna Bowl was a blessing and at the same time challenging. This is a history that our name will go down in the books as a first batch to claim the first title for the Army family.”

Meanwhile, the running rugby from both sides saw a quick tap and fast delivery of the ball out wide from the Police allowed blindside flanker Teresia Matea to score under the sticks to make it easy for flyhalf Livia Naidei to add the two points which was not enough.

It was a tense game which resulted in the Police team being reduced to 14 players as inside centre Litiana Lawedrau was given a yellow card for an off the ball incident and Army’s reserve backline player Meredani Qoro given a red card for a tip tackle.

Teams

Army:

Bitila Tawake, Isabella Koi, Vika Matarugu, Karalaini Naisewa, Pricilla Siata, Nunia Uluikadavu, Vitalini Mirimi, Doreen Narokete, Ana Maria Roqica, Merewalesi Rokouono, Nanise Male, Lavenia Tinai, Rusila Nagasau, Kasanita Namoce, Ani Mei Reserves: Talei Toga, Litia Marama, Taufa Ravouvou, Mereani Kanadroka, Adi Fulori Rotagavira, Salote Vakaturi, Pelanaisa Tareguci, Meredani Qoro, Seruwaia Vukoto, Alanieta Sevutia

Police:

Joma Rubuti, Loraini Seniloli, Bulou Wainikiti, Merevesi Ofakimalino, Ilivani Biaukula, Teresia Matea, Salauca Koroi, Akosita Ravato, Evivi Senikarivi, Livia Naidei, Bulou Lave, Litiana Lewedrau, Mela Matanatabu, Vika Naibena, Mereani Rogosau Reserves: Makereta Tunidau, Elina Taoba, Mereoni Vonosere, Ana Moceira, Filimena Rabakele, Adi Ana Lutunauca, Loata Berenado, Maria Rokotuisiga, Adi Varilema, Sainiana Tukana

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