Canberra Vikings kava up disappointing Fijian Drua - Green and Gold Rugby
University of Canberra Vikings NRC

Canberra Vikings kava up disappointing Fijian Drua

Canberra Vikings kava up disappointing Fijian Drua

The Canberra Vikings have snapped a two-match losing streak with a comprehensive 66-5 win over the Fijian Drua in Canberra.

It was an impressive all round display from the home side as they racked up ten tries in total with Tom Cusack collecting a hat trick in a man of the match display with Tom Banks and Faalelei Sione collecting doubles. It was a return to form for the Vikings in this top four battle that sees them jump to the top of the table with a healthy for and against.

The Match

The home side enjoyed all the possession in the opening five minutes and aided by a penalty, the Vikings kicked to within 15 metres of the Fiji line but their usual rolling maul weapon was disrupted but it only took a few more phases for Andy Muirhead to open the scoring. Whareni Hawera converted for a 7-0 lead.

That seemed to spark the Drua into action and armed with a big scrum, they worked down towards the Vikings line but a knock on from Eroni Vasiteri near the Vikings line saw them come away with nothing.

The visitors did not have to wait too much longer to get on the board with the Vikings unable to exit their end effectively and with some good field position, scrum half Frank Lomani was able to dive over from close range to make it 7-5.

The Vikings extended the margin after 22 minutes on the back of a Fiji error after they kicked out on the full and made things worse by conceding a penalty in their own 22. The Drua were able to nullify the initial maul but couldn’t keep out Vikings prop Faalelei Sione. Hawera’s second conversion made it 14-5.

The points kept flowing for the home side as they added another try five minutes after with captain Tom Cusack burrowing over to make for 21-5 lead with Fiji struggling to get out of their own half.

The Drua had a few chances to hit back before the break but a wayward kick on one occasion and some determined Vikings defence held them out to leave it 21-5 at the break.

Embed from Getty Images

The Vikings started the second half where they left off with Cusack collecting his double within five minutes of the restart after being put through by Muirhaed who found space out on the right wing.

The forwards continued their try scoring feats with Sione following Cusack with his try scoring double. Small gains with pick drives sucked in the Drua defence and Sione scored from close range. Hawera continued his 100% kicking record with his fifth conversion to make it 35-5 after 50 minutes.

The Fijians had limited chances to hit back in the second half but were unable to capitalise inside the Vikings 22 and before they knew it, were under their own sticks after the sixth Vikings try of the night. Muirhead set it up with a nice run down the left wing before Robbie Abel pinned his ears back and looked inside and found Tom Banks who rolled over in the tackle to score.

Banks was it again only five minutes later as he swooped in on a grubber from Hawera in the right corner to make the margin 40 with 20 minutes still remaining.

With the Vikings clearing the benches, they still had more points in them with Robbie Abel getting his name on the try scorer list as they ticked over the half century mark. And there was more with Cusack collecting his third and replacement Harry Lloyd put the icing on the cake with time up to end a sorry night for the visitors at 66-5.


Key Moment

No real moment as the Vikings put the Drua to the sword but the two tries early in the second half seemed to halt any chance of a Fiji comeback

The G&GR MOTM

Tom Cusack. A big game from the Vikings captain with a hat trick and leading the line in defence

The Details

Score & Scorers

VIKINGS 66
Tries: Cusack 3, Sione 2, Banks 2, Muirhead, Abel, Lloyd
Conversions: Hawera 5, Lonergan, Rolando 2
FIJIAN DRUA 5
Tries: Lomani

Cards

Nil- Although keep an ear out for more on an alleged eye gouging incident around the 20th minute.

  • What a great game from the Canberra side. The game blew out in the second half but strangely, and refreshingly, for an Australian side they didn’t blink and kept at it until the final whistle.
    I’m very surprised the Drua weren’t closer to the Vikings but maybe the travel over the last few weeks is getting to them and I guess the low temperature in Canberra didn’t help.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Very wise comments Sully. The Fijians never dig the cold.

      • This travel schedule is something these sides will have to get used to if they are to play in any week in, week out comp like Super Rugby, the promised Twiggy ball comp or whatever comes next.

        It wasn’t overly cold last night, around 12, and some places will be colder than that when those other comps are on

        • Brisneyland Local

          Very true Steve. Having worked with the Fijian’s, PNG’s, Soloman Island and NiVan’s it always amazed me that strong powerful fearless men became quivering wrecks almost as soon as the temperature dropped below 15. When it was down to single figures they became catatonic.

        • Brumby Runner

          Travel and temperature should not be overstated as excuses/reasons for last night’s result. The Drua have had their last two games at home so little effect should be expected on that front, while the temperature was quite comfortable but with quite a high wind which I expect would be more familiar to Islanders than to our mainly mainlanders.

          The real reason for the blow out was to do with the strong defense put in by the Vikings to hold out the Drua on many of their attacking raids, and then the expansive attacking game the Vikings put on. Aus fans have for a long, long time been bewailing the inability of our teams to hold the ball, make ground in attack, break the defensive line and support the ball carrier. All things the Vikings did with some aplomb last night. Their efforts should be recognised, not belittled with excuses for the other side, especially as the Drua actually played some very good football in any case.

        • Brisneyland Local

          BR, Have just watched the game, and you are 100% correct. The vikings defence was the key to the game. Maybe the Wallabies should have watched that game!

    • Bakkies

      The Vikings left another four tries out on the pitch throw forward passes, over running the ball carrier and going in to touch.

  • Mr Wobbly

    I thought Canberra’s whole back row were outstanding last night, they basically strangled Fiji’s running game. Cusack in particular had a cracker.

  • Brumby Runner

    Cusack was deservedly MOTM, closely followed by Andrew Muirhead, who ran strongly down the wing all night and didn’t flinch in defense when required. Both locks had very strong games as well.

    As Mr W said, the whole backrow played well as a unit, but actually it was a very impressive all round effort by the team that got them such a big win. Their defense nullified the running and off-loading game of the Drua while in attack they supported the ball carrier and many of their off-loads were very Drua like and led to the accumulation of points.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I previously thought the Brumbies’ back-row would be McCaffrey-Pocock-Naisarani with the other lads fighting it out for the bench spot.

      At present it could easily be Valetini-Pocock-Naisarani with McCaffrey fighting it out for Cusack for the bench spot.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Great match to watch. Someone said that the Vikings were playing like the Drua, but I thought that they were more measured and controlled, I thought the Vikings were playing more like a Kiwi side.

    They might not be able to reproduce that form again this year, but it was great to see them do it at home.

    Brumby watch must include Cusack and Valetini.

  • MST

    We have waited patiently Steve, but we as its not been mentioned thus far wont let it go through to the keeper any longer.

    Good write up – LOVE the headline.

    It will be interesting to see if the Drua can bounce back one once again, kava it up!

University of Canberra Vikings NRC
@steve_l15

Canberra born and bred Rugby fan brought up on Canberra Kookaburra and ACT Brumbies Rugby.

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