Queensland Country continued their winning form in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) when they beat the Fijian Drua 24-17 on a hot and dry day at Churchill Park in the Fiji Islands.
The win has put the Queenslanders at the top of the NRC table while the Drua sit in third place and are in a battle to claim a playoff spot.
Try of the Match
There were not as many tries in this contest as there has been in most of the Drua’s games this season. As a result, picking the try of the game is an easier task than normal. This week goes to Frank Lomani, who received a backhanded offload from the dynamic Eroni Sau. The try came in the 67th minute after the Islanders made a fantastic break from inside their own 22-metre line. This try again replicated what the Fijians can do when they keep ball in hand and make smart offloads as opposed to trying for the miracle ball on every possession.
Player of the Game
The aforementioned Sau made a big impact on the game. The winger showed his power by running through defenders at will and was always a threat to create something when the Drua attacked as he has such good offloading skills in tight quarters.
The Drua seemed to have the measure of the table-topping Queensland Country, but their defensive frailties meant that Queensland was always keeping the scoreboard ticking over. It was a game that went down to the wire though, and during the very last sequence of play there was a chance that almost saw the Drua score but a brave defensive effort from Country assured they would get the points.
It is still surprising that Drua matches are retaining their popularity this deep into the season. They have garnered more spectators watching their matches against the Australian sides in comparison to the more regular matches that sees the Australian sides pair off. This has been great for the competition and it would be ideal for all involved if the Fijians can find a way to secure a playoff spot.
The Fijian Drua will play against the Sydney Rays in the last round of the NRC regular season. The Rays are currently eighth in the nine-team league. This last pool game for the Drua will be played at ANZ National Stadium in Suva this coming weekend.
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