Drua pip Moana Pasifika in final minutes of Super Rugby thriller

Sat, Feb 25
Taniela Rakuro celebrates after scoring for the Fijian Drua.

The Clash of the Pacific lived up to the hype this afternoon as the Fijian Drua came out on top in a Super Rugby thriller against Moana Pasifika at Mt Smart Stadium.

Taniela Rakura's try for the Drua in the 77th minute - the 11th try of the contest - was the deciding factor in the 36-34 match that featured all the explosiveness and power fans could hope for along with the odd handling and mental error that comes with such territory.

For Moana Pasifika, much of that power came from their pack as they looked to outmuscle the Drua with two tries to prop Abraham Pole as well as a trip to the white line by Chris Apoua.

The two front-rowers gave Moana Pasifika a 12-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes before the Drua responded through captain Tevita Ikanivere after a series of penalties near the line.

Moana Pasifika weren't to be outdone though with Mike Curry adding a third try for the forward pack to make it 19-5.

The Drua responded once more though, making the most of a yellow card to Sam Slade to tie up the scoreline through tries to Joseva Tomani and Olympic sevens champion Iosefo Masi as the clock approached halftime.

Danny Toala ensured his team had a lead at the break though, pouncing on a Fijian handling error to go over and give his side a 26-19 lead at the break.

Danny Toala runs in to score for Moana Pasifika.

The full-throttle action continued in the second half with Ikanivere scoring his second for the Drua in the 45th minute before Pole score a second of his own five minutes later.

Masi then joined the brace club to level the scores at 31-31 before the game knuckled down into a battle of wills.

A Christian Lealiifano penalty looked to give the hosts the win but Rakura's fitting last-gasp try ruined the party, giving his side a win to open their 2023 campaign.

Fijian Drua 36 [Tevita Ikanivere 2, Iosefo Masi 2, Joseva Tamani, Taniela Rakuro tries; Teti Tela 2 con; Caleb Muntz con]

Moana Pasifika 34 [Abraham Pole 2, Chris Apoua, Mike Curry, Danny Toala tries; Christian Lealiifano pen, 3 con]

Halftime: 19-26


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