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Reds hold off late Drua comeback

The Reds winger earned a crucial penalty for the host to hold on to a 27-24 win over the Drua.

The Drua could have bagged a five pointer just five minutes into the match but Elia Canakaivata lost the ball just meters short of the tryline.

However, they still had the advantage and Frank Lomani nailed the penalty for a 3-0 lead.

Playing inside Fiji’s 22, James O’Connor puts the ball up high with which Suliasi Vunivalu won the aerial battle and kept the ball alive before being taken into touch.

Scrambling attack, Josh Flook switched direction to sneak in for the first try of the match.

The Drua’s defense held up pretty well after turning the ball over inches from their tryline but they were reduced to 14 men when Kitione Salawa was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Ryan Smith.

After a few back and forth play, Flook got his second as the Reds executed some quick passes on the short side to lead 12-3.

Flook could have got his hat-trick two minutes from the break when he sliced through to time O’Connor’s kick but he couldn’t get hold of the ball, a relief for the Fijian Drua.

The hosts led 12- 3 at halftime.

Queensland continued their momentum in the second half capitalizing on some scrappy play from the Drua.

They spread the ball wide and big number 8 Harry Wilson finished it off at the corner.

The Drua just didn’t seem to have things together easily giving away possession especially inside their own 22.

With possession, the Reds pick and drive were defended well by the Drua but as they spread wide, the Fijians were back paddling in defense and Vunivalu crashed over the corner for their fourth try.

From the restart the Drua won possession and worked their way close to the Reds try-line.

They were awarded when former Ratu Kadavulevu School student Seru Uru was yellow carded for continuous infringements.

Pick and drive from the Drua forwards saw Ratu Rotuisolia crash over for their first try.

Lomani converted for a 10-24 scoreline.

There was a lot of stop-starts in the second spell with the Reds conceding a number of penalties but the Drua could not capitalize with handling errors being their worst nightmare.

However, they redeemed themselves after Jock Campbell was penalized and Lomani went the right direction spreading the ball to the outside where the Reds were outnumbered.

Kitione Salawa took on a couple of defenders before offloading to Apisalome Vota who found Kalaveti Rouvou unmarked at the corner to score a crucial try.

It came down to a five point game in the last 10 with the Drua again exploiting the right side and captain Meli Derenalagi released quickly for Iosefo Masi to score.

Lomani’s kicking game was to the T as he slotted the conversion to bridge the scores to a three-point difference.

The Drua had a chance just minutes from time with co-captain Tevita Ikanivere escaping the Reds defenders but it wasn’t their day as they conceded a penalty at the breakdown.