Did a Levani Botia led Kubuna overcome Sam Matavesi and the Tovata confederacy team? And how about Burebasaga, with the test skipper Waisea Nayacalevu in hot form, was it enough to overcome the star studded Combined XVII? Find out as all the results are in for Round 1.Embed from Getty Images
Sanaila Waqa gets 4 tries for Tovata
Tovu, Totoya native Sanaila Waqa’s inclusion in the reserves may have been the best move I didn’t see coming. With Perpignan resting Tevita Cavubati, a spot opened up and in came the Kintetsu lock who on the back of 2 tries from his first 2 games to start the season, scored 4 tries in the Liners demolition of Hiroshima. While League One players don’t score stats points, Waqa managed to get Tovata a nice 40 points for his efforts.
But it wasn’t enough..
While Tovata scored 81 in-game points to Kubuna’s 70, the workrate of the Kubuna backline proved to be the difference in the end. Big games from Fijian Drua’s round 3 man of the match Apisalome Vota who made 138 attacking points and 10 in-game points thanks to his team-mate Peni Matawalu who grabbed 5 points for his assist. Skipper Levani Botia grabbed his first double of the season as did late replacement Adrian Sanday who was promoted to the starting side after Aminiasi Tuimaba was not selected for Pau. Bash brothers Filipo Nakosi and Josua Tuisova scored 190 points between them to add to the Kubuna total.
The final score was a close 2 point victory to Kubuna, 28-26. Here’s the breakdown
Burebasaga vs Combined XVII
Led by Waisea Nayacalevu who scored a try for Stade Francais on the weekend Burebasaga opened their account with a clash against the Combined XVII, made up of players not eligible for Fiji or who have pledged allegiance to other nations.
Jiuta Wainiqolo and Leone Nakarawa both were not in Toulon’s matchday 23 which brought Sitiveni Moceidreke into the starting fullback position. The former Rabbitoh has taken over the goal kicking duties for the London Broncos and managed 8 points through 4 conversions on the weekend. Api Ratuniyarawa moved into the starting 13 with Edinburgh back rower Mesulame Kunavula coming onto the bench.
Adrea Cocagi managed 15 in game points, the highest of any Burebasaga player thanks to a try and a try assist. In the same match Vilimoni Botitu was red carded and things started going downhill for Burebasaga. Setariki Tuicuvu was shown a yellow card in his match for Brive losing 5 points while Ratu Rotuisolia found himself in the sin-bin the night prior, also losing 5 points.
In the end despite some great statistical performances from Asaeli Tuivaka and Vinaya Hasbosi, Burebasaga’s ill discipline and the fact regular starters Nemani Nadolo and Albert Tuisue were benched cost them in the end with the Combined All-Stars taking a 24-16 win and top second spot after round 1. For the Combined XVII, Rob Valetini and Pita Gus Sowakula were their best over the weekend.
If you missed the introduction to the concept league, catch up on everything you need to know here.
Round 2 features Tovata vs the Combined XVII while Kubuna gets a chance to keep Burebasaga at the bottom of the table.