An intercept try and a lack of discipline have cost the ACT XV a win at Viking Park on Wednesday night, falling 16-3 to the Fiji Warriors.
Played in driving rain, organisers were forced to change venue late on Wednesday afternoon after Seiffert Oval was declared unavailable due to the poor conditions.
The loss was the second for the ACT based team in a week and consigned it to the bottom of the Pacific Rugby Cup table. With just one game to play against Tonga A on Sunday, the ACT XV are now unlikely to figure in the competition’s top spots.
With heavy rain belting the southern suburbs of Canberra for most of the day, it was never going to be an expansive game of rugby and both teams traded penalty shots for the entire first 40.
ACT XV flyhalf Zack Holmes said while the result was disappointing he was pleased to have been selected to face the Fijians.
“The weather was always going to dictate how we played so it wasn’t really a surprise to be trading goals in that first half,” Holmes said.
“In the wet points are always going to be hard to come by so it was a bit disappointing for us to be giving them so many chances at goal. We made it too easy for them in that regard.
“In the end it was a good hit-out though. We will just have to refocus on Sunday and Tonga for the last game.”
The conditions didn’t help either kicker in the first half, with the Warrior’s No 10 Jonetani Ralulu managing just one from his four attempts and Zack Holmes one from three.
Going into the break at 3-3 both teams had tried to float the ball late with the Fijians looking the most likely to break the line, but handling errors prevented both sides from crossing for tries.
The second half started with more points, Ralulu kicking another penalty to give his side breathing room. The tempo of the game increased with busts to ACT XV’s Matt Hawke, Kimami Sitauti and Holmes, who all threatened but couldn’t capitalise on lazy Fijian defence.
The highlight of the second half was seeing a heavily-strapped Jerry Yanuyanutawa rampaging through his countrymen, galloping 50 metres to be stopped just outside his 22.
He and fellow Brumby Tevita Kuridrani were both born and raised in Fiji giving the match an extra element to the ACT XV’s last clash against the Samoans on Friday.
But despite the home team’s attempts to play running rugby, the Warriors again answered with points as outside-centre Josateki Nasilisili grabbed an intercept and ran 50 to put his side in a comfortable position. The big ball runner was too quick for ACT XV fullback Tyler Stevens, darting away for the only five-pointer of the match.
Ralulu’s conversion pushed the lead out to 13-3 with 20 minutes left to play and his final shot at goal 10 minutes later put the result comfortably in the Fijian’s favour.
The ACT XV now face Tonga A at Griffith Oval this Sunday, 3.30pm in their final Pacific Rugby Cup fixture for 2012.
Fiji Warriors 16 (Josateki Nasilisili try; Jonetani Ralulu 3 pens, con) bt ACT XV 3 (Zack Holmes pen).