Fijian Drua have prevailed in their inaugural clash with Moana Pasifika, winning 34-19 in Parramatta.
The first meeting of the Super Rugby Pacific’s newest sides proved a high-scoring affair at CommBank Stadium, with the Fijians seeing off a fighting Pasifika line-up and claiming their second victory of the season.
But beaten Moana captain and former Wallaby Sekope Kepu said the match was significant for more than just the result.
“Today was a special day, a historic day Pacific Island people, for Polynesian people,” he told Stan Sport.
“Obviously it’s a disappointing result for us.
“A couple of the early tries, the bounce of the ball can be quite cruel sometimes, but that’s Fijian style rugby, pouncing on every opportunity you get.”
The Drua were ahead inside five minutes when Kalaveti Ravouvou found a beautiful offload for Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta to cross, and it was 14-0 soon after when speedy winger Vinaya Habosi broke free and ran more than half the field to score.
Moana got on the board when Solomone Funaki peeled off the back of a maul and barged over, but a fortuitous bounce let the Drua extend their lead late in the first half through Apisalome Vota.
The powerful Pasifika maul allowed prop Abraham Pole to score and cut the margin to 12 before the break, and they were even closer early in the second half when an inch-perfect kick from Danny Toala found winger Timoci Tavatavanawai to cross in the corner.
At 24-19, Moana had moments where it looked as if they could taste victory, but the Drua iced the contest with a penalty before Vota doubled up for 34-19.
It was the Drua’s first win since round three, when they knocked off the Melbourne Rebels.