Fijian Drua edge Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby shootout
The Fijian Drua have held on to beat Moana Pasifika 47-46 in a Super Rugby match which contained all the best elements of Pacific Islands rugby.
A fifth victory of the campaign improves the Drua to 21 points, leaving them with a slim shot at qualifying for the quarter-finals. They finish the regular season at home to the Queensland Reds next Saturday needing a victory and results elsewhere to progress.
For Moana, who along with the Drua won two matches in 2022, a 13th consecutive defeat for the campaign means they need a win against the NSW Waratahs in Sydney to avoid losing all 14 games this season.
It was physical but also fast-paced and skilful, and it was played in glorious sunshine in front of an exuberant crowd in Lautoka.
Iosefo Masi scored three tries for the Drua who led throughout but couldn't get a decisive break on Moana Pasifika, who for the second time in recent weeks came within a point of their first win of 2023.
Former Wallabies star Christian Leali'ifano had a chance to win the match for the visitors with a last-gasp conversion of Samiuela Moli's 80th-minute try.
To the relief of Drua fans, Leali'ifano's attempt swung wide of the posts.
The match saw 14 tries, eight in the first half after which the Drua led 26-24.
The Drua led 47-27 after 57 minutes but Moana Pasifika almost snatched the match with three late tries.