Tahs lose another thriller, Iosefo Masi stole the show


In what might go down in history as the game of the round, the Fijian Drua have registered their first-ever win over the NSW Waratahs with a 39-36 golden point win at Lautoka’s Churchill Park.

Tahs hooker Mahe Vailanu scored the opening points of the afternoon with a try in the fourth minute, and while the visitors controlled the contest at that stage, it was practically all the Drua from beyond the 10th minute until half-time.

Iosefo Masi scored a brilliant first-half hat-trick as the Drua ran up a big lead, but the visitors wrestled their way back into the fight with a valiant performance after the break.

spacer-new Tahs lose another thriller, Iosefo Masi stole the show

The fixture ended up going to extra-time, and while both teams had a chance to win the golden point thriller, it was the Drua who emerged victorious.

Waratahs lose another thriller

After losing consecutive matches to New Zealand opposition by a combined margin of just two points, the NSW Waratahs have gone down in another thriller in Lautoka, Fiji.

The Waratahs did well to claw their way back into the contest at 36-all and eventually send the round five fixture to golden point.

Tahs playmaker Tane Edmed had a chance to win it all for the Tahs with a drop goal in extra-time but the attempt ended up striking the padding on the right goalpost – and the Drua made the Tahs pay.

The Drua went up the other end and after being awarded a penalty advantage, replacement Kemu Valetini kicked an unconventional field goal to secure the hosts’ first-ever win over the NSW Waratahs.

For the Waratahs, who have now won just one from five starts this season, they’ve been let to rue what could’ve been for the third week in a row.

Hat-trick hero Iosefo Masi stole the show in Lautoka

After three games, the halfway point of round five is upon us. The Hurricanes, Brumbies and now Drua have won, and it might already be time to crown the Player of the Week.

Centre Iosefo Masi stole the show during an electrifying first-half performance from the Fijian Drua. Much to the delight of the home crowd, the hosts ran up a big lead with four first-half tries with Masi crossing for three of them.

Masi, who is an Olympic gold medallist and also played for Fiji at last year’s Rugby World Cup, sliced through the Waratahs’ defensive line in the 14th minute to score the Drua’s first. Masi beat a number of defenders, including Wallaby Mark Nawaqanitawase.

The crowd let out a big cheer as Masi and the Drua celebrated the score, but the best was yet to come – and it was the Flying Fijians midfielder who stood up and impressed once again.

Halfback Frank Lomani threw an outrageous dummy before creating a break down the field. In the end, it was Masi who reaped the rewards as the 25-year-old beat Tahs fullback Max Jorgensen with sheer pace to finish off the long-range score.

It was running rugby and it’s very best.

With the Dura well and truly in control, and with the hosts mere metres out from the Tahs’ try line, it was almost no surprise to see a familiar face pop in a try-scoring position.

Masi completed his first-half hat-trick in the 33rd minute, and even offered a smile to the crowd, Waratahs and his own teammates before placing the ball down.

With more than 60 running metres and a handful of defenders beaten as well, there should be absolutely no arguments in saying that Iosefo Masi was sensational on Saturday afternoon.

Big name players fail to fire for Tahs during opening 40

Playing away from home at the Drua’s fortress that is Churchill Park, the NSW Waratahs couldn’t have started much better. After a try to hooker Mahe Vailanu and some sharp-shooting from fly-half Tane Edmed, the visitors led 10-nil after less than 10 minutes of play.

But that’s when everything changed. The Waratahs lost control as passes which usually struck began to hit the deck and other errors began to creep into their game against a Drua side who were growing in confidence.

There were glimpse of promise during the opening half and it would be wrong to suggest that it was all doom and gloom. But the Waratahs weren’t great as the half-time scoreboard suggests.

One problem for the Tahs was that big name players failed to deliver as they normally would. Superstars of Australian rugby struggled to hit their stride and it hurt the visitors in the end.

Match Summary

Centre Izaia Perese, wing Mark Nawaqanitawase and fullback Max Jorgensen had a tough opening 40. It was slightly different after the break but the point remains strong.

Nawaqanitawase, 23, didn’t carry the ball once during the opening half. To make things worse, the Wallaby was also shown a yellow card for an intentional knockdown just before the break.

As for Jorgensen, who started the match with a nice chip-and-chase in the seventh minute, couldn’t quite make an impact in his first game back from an injury layoff.

The Wallaby-in-waiting dropped a high ball cold about 15 minutes in. Jorgensen only ran the ball twice and there were some noticeable misreads in defence as well.

Izaia Perese may have registered a try assist early in the second-half, but the Leicester-bound centre was kept quiet during his 56 minutes out on the field.

Perese finished the afternoon with three carries to his name and a handful of stops on the defensive side of the ball.

Aside from the slightly improved showing after the break, Perese’s performance in Fiji was a noticeable drop in form. The Australian didn’t look anywhere near as threatening as what he had in other appearances to start the season.

Halfback and captain Jake Gordon was an exception, with the No. 9 leading by example during some trying periods of this fixture for the Tahs.

Let’s talk about Frank Lomani for Team of the Week

TJ Perenara was superb for the Hurricanes on Friday night. The 80-Test All Black scored a try and was generally quite fantastic around the field of play as the table-toppers ran away with a massive win over the Melbourne Rebels in Palmerston North.

It was a performance worthy of an All Blacks call-up, so yeah, Perenara was good to say the least. But Fijian Drua halfback took it to another level for halfbacks on Saturday afternoon.

Lomani scored the Drua’s second try of the night but also went on to record assists as well. With a lethal running game and an intelligent rugby IQ, Lomani made the Waratahs pay time and time again.

While there are still three games to go in round five, it seems like a two horse race for Team of the Week honours at halfback. Both Perenara and Lomani deserve to be there, but only one can make the grade beyond an ‘honourable mention’.

Out of the two, Lomani has probably done enough.



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