WATCH: Joseva Tamani’s excellent finish in Fijian Drua’s historic win over Crusaders

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Fijian Drua back-row Joseva Tamani showed his class as he crossed for a well-taken try during his side’s 25-24 victory over the Crusaders in their Super Rugby Pacific clash in Lautoka on Saturday.

As the scoreline suggests, this was a thrilling affair which went down to the wire but the home side were deserved winners as they staved off a late fightback from the defending champions.

And Tamani was one of his side’s heroes as he delivered a brilliant all-round performance which culminated in his well-taken try on the hour-mark.

This, after he gathered a beautifully weighted long pass from Frank Lomani just outside the Crusaders‘ 22. He still had plenty of work to do but shrugged off a tackle from Corey Kellow before crashing over in the right-hand corner to give the Drua a 17-12 lead.

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Prior to that, the Crusaders made a fantastic start when Quentin McDonald crossed for two tries from close range, with Fergus Burke adding one conversion, which gave the champions a 12-0 lead by the 23rd minute.

The Drua needed a response and that came on the half-hour mark when Iosefo Masi pounced on a handling error by the visitors close to the halfway line and gathered the loose ball before outsprinting the cover defence on his way over the try-line.

That meant the Crusaders held a 12-5 lead at half-time but the Drua came out firing after the interval and were rewarded with further tries from Ilaisa Droasese, Tamani and Eroni Sau, with Teti Tela adding one conversion to give the hosts a 22-12 lead by the 67th minute.

As expected the Crusaders upped the ante on attack during the game’s latter stages and were rewarded when Sevu Reece and Ioane Moananu crossed for five-pointers and Burke’s conversion of Moananu’s score in the 79th minute gave the visitors a 24-22 lead.

With time running out on the clock, the Drua launched one last attack and were soon camped on the edge their opponents’ 22. The Crusaders soon infringed on defence and up stepped Kemu Valetini, who slotted the match-winning penalty after the full-time hooter had sounded.

Video credit: Super Rugby Pacific

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