Caption: The Outrigger Nadroga side pictured at Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Photo: SHALENDRA PRASAD.
Monday 22 July – Six teams remain in contention for the semifinals in Digicel Cup rugby competition with one more full round of games this Saturday and two postponed matches to play on Saturday week.
In last Saturday’s round 10, Lautoka and Northland were tumbled out of contention. Vatukoula dashed Lautoka’s hopes with a 21 – 11 victory while Namosi kept its hopes alive but drowned Northland’s bid in a sound 33 – 15 bonus point win.
Nadi, currently in fourth place, have two games in hand and along with current table toppers Nadroga, both look set to book home semifinals, if both win all remaining games.
A pending protest which Tailevu has filed against Namosi will decide the Timoci Wainiqolo coached hillmen’s fate in the competition. If the protest ruling goes against Namosi, they will be out of semifinals running but will grant Lance Whippy’s Tailevu a life-line as this will place them as semifinals contenders.
The game of round 11 will feature Eastern neighboring rivals Tailevu and Naitasiri in Nakelo. The Sailosi Naiteqe coached Naitasiri must win this match to seal a place in the playoff. This is a vital match for two other teams because if Naitasiri wins, Namosi and Tailevu will be bundled out.
In other games this week, the flying Nadroga Stallions will be hoping for a bonus point win against Northland to confirm a home semifinal.
Second-placed Suva needs to win away in the gold town against Vatukoula to be assured of a semifinal outing. But both Northland and Vatukoula, out of semifinals contention, still are fighting for the eighth place finish to confirm their challenge berth for the Farebrother-Sullivan trophy.
Fourth-placed Nadi takes on Lautoka in an expected crunch Western derby at home and with a match against lowly rated Ovalau in hand, the Iliesa Tanivula coached side can rake in the maximum points to finish top of the table, taking with that a home semifinal and a possible Digicel Cup final advantage.
In its first season back in the top flight, Namosi’s semifinal hopes hang on a pending protest decision and its last game against Ovalau. Win-less Macuata will host tenth placed Tavua in Labasa.