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Friday Apr 12, 2024

Julian Savea rolls back the years with 'bus' style finish

Moana Pasifika defeated an ill-disciplined Queensland Reds side at the FMG Stadium Hamilton today in a contest that came right down to the wire.

The home side took an early lead through Julian Savea as he trundled over the backtracking Reds defence extending his Super Rugby try tally record in the process.

Having spent most of his career earning himself the nickname ‘The Bus’ on the wing for the Hurricanes and the All Blacks, Savea has since ventured inwards to the centres, relying on his ball-carrying talents rather than his out-and-out pace. It was playing in the 12 shirt that Savea picked up this impressive score.

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The match continued in the favour of Moana Pasifika for much of the first half, with the tight game closing 10-0 at the break. The second half saw an entirely different Reds team appear from the gates – a team fully riled up for the occasion.

A quick try from prop Peni Ravai built up hope within the small cluster of away fans. Sadly, however, their optimism didn’t last long thanks to a moment of madness that saw the reds captain receive his marching orders. Tate McDermott lashed out with a swinging arm after an altercation with Moana Pasifika backrow Irie Papuni.

Under the new experimental laws, whilst McDermott could not return to the field of play, the Reds went back to a full compliment of players just twenty minutes later. It was when the away side were back up to their full number of players, that they were able to strike once again – this time through Jordan Petaia, playing on the wing today.

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With 10 minutes remaining, the match was in the balance. But it was to be the Reds that would once again shoot themselves in the feet, with star backrower Fraser McReight sent off for a high tackle on Moana’s flyhalf William Havili in the 72nd minute.

Pouncing on their one man advantage, Moana Pasifika ensured their victory with a well worked try just 90 seconds before the end.

Final score: Moana Pasifika 17 – 14 Reds

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