NRC: Drua snatch last-gasp win over Rays

NRC
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Fijian Drua have won their first game on the road since round six 2017, snatching a last-gasp 34-31 win over the Sydney Rays.

Fiji’s woeful record on the road looked like continuing when the Drua found themselves 19 points down early in the second half but as the young Rays tired, the Drua found space and the tryline.

Three first-half tries had the Rays on top at the break and on track for their first NRC win in 2017 but the Drua did not lie down as they piled on 25 unanswered points for the win.

Alivereti Veitokani gave the Drua the lead for the first time in the 75th minute, before fellow back star Apisalome Waqatabu's second sealed the deal.

Both sides struggled to gain the ascendancy early on in the match but it was the Rays who managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over and edge their way ahead.

Lock Connor Vest went over first in the fifth minute as the Rays’ momentum began to build.

Where they have been outgunned in the pack in recent weeks, Sydney held their own and continued to mount pressure on Fiji.

Jack Dempsey made it through another NRC match. Photo: Getty ImagesTyson Davis had Sydney’s second in the 12th minute and when Curtis Rona went over just before half-time it looked as if the Rays would romp home, with the Drua’s dreadful away form seemingly striking again.

They had their fourth just after half-time, through flyer Rob Buaserau, but that was where the Rays’ run ended.

Something in the Drua clicked from then and they began to monster their way over the Rays in the pack and their backs slipped through gaps.

An Albert Tuisue try in the 64th minute whittled a once 19-point margin back to just four points as full-time loomed.

Second tries to Veitokani and Wataqabu gave them a 10-point gap and completed a spectacular turnaround.

Rona found the line in the last second, it was too little too late for the Rays, left to wait another week for a win.

In positive news for Wallabies fans, Rays flanker Jack Dempsey started and made it through 60 minutes for the Sydney side in his second match back from a long-term hamstring injury.

The Rays are expecting to have injured duo Cam Clark and Pama Fou in their lineup for a round five NRC clash against the Force in Perth.

Fiji’s win was the Drua’s first away from home since round six 2017 against the Greater Sydney Rams.

RESULT 

Sydney 31

Tries:  Rona 2, Vest, Davis, Buaserau

Cons: Burey 3

Fiji 34

Tries: Waqatabu 2, Veitokani 2, Reece, Tuisue

Cons: Waqatabu 2