16 Sep, 2017, 03:00 pm
Tayler Adams got us under way for the Eagles second game of the National Rugby Championship at Lawaka Park, Fiji.
After some end to end rugby to kick off the first half, Drua looked dangerous close to the Eagles line following a big kick-chase. A small injury break gave the Eagles time to regroup and Tayler Adams kicked the Eagles out of danger off the back of a solid set-piece.
In the 8th minute an attacking lineout for the Eagles was stolen by Drua who went 80 metres against the run of play finishing with Lomani scoring in the corner.
The Eagles responded quickly with periods of damaging running down the middle of the park only to concede an untimely turnover on Drua’s 22.
Drua’s offloads were causing trouble for the Eagles defence in the middle stages of the second half as the Fijian’s continued to make metres. A timely turnover from hooker Brandon Paenga- Amosa provided some much-needed relief for the Eagles.
A clean lineout win from Lachlan Swinton put the Eagles in a good attacking position. Seb Wileman made no mistake with the show and go, scoring the Eagles first try of the day, converted by Tayler Adams.
The Fijian’s hit back straight away with Eroni Vasiteri throwing a cut-out ball to Sau who scored in the corner. Waqatabu was unable to add the extras from the sideline in windy conditions.
Handling errors were letting the Eagles down against a smart Drua defence who were making the most of their opportunities and were strong in cover.
A missed penalty on the stroke of halftime meant the Fijian side took a 3-point advantage going into the sheds.
The second half did not start the way the Eagles were hoping, as a tactical grubber was pounced on by Waqatabu who had no problems adding the extras this time.
Drua were in again moments later a 70-metre effort from Sau and slick draw and pass put halfback Lomani in for his second of the afternoon, which Waqatabu converted from the sideline.
Whilst everything seemed to be going against the Eagles, Alex Gibbon and Alex Newsome stepped up in cover defence halting a 90-metre effort from the Fijian side who looked dangerous in open space all afternoon.
A yellow card to Seru Cavuilati for a high tackle gave Adams a chance to kick the Eagles out of danger as several substitutions rolled on for both sides.
Some much-needed points for the eagles after 15 phases on the Drua line finished with a penalty try after Andrew Kellaway was taken out in the air leaping for a Tayler Adams cross-field kick.
After some courageous line defence from the Eagles, Drua found a gap on the outside as Waqatabu threw a cut-out ball to put Daveta into the corner.
Despite having won 6 scrum penalties and being dominant at set-piece time, the momentum was against the Eagles as the Dura side proved dangerous in broken play.
It was a scrappy end to the second half despite close efforts from Connal McInerney off a Maclean Jones turnover and Andrew Kellaway who were all stopped by big Fijian defence.
At the end of the day Fijian Dura came away with the win by 17 points in front of a packed home crowd at Lawaqa Park.
NSW COUNTRY EAGLES 14
Tries: S. Wileman, Penalty Try
Cons: T. Adams (1/1)
Pens: T. Adams (0/1)
FIJIAN DRUA 31
Tries: F. Lomani (2), E. Sau, A. Waqtabu, A. Daveta
Cons: A. Waqtabu (3/5)