Vanuaso 7s champion

2019 Vanuaso 7s champion, Lebaivalu with their supporters after the final at Ratu Cakobu Park in Nausori yesterday. Picture: NOA BIUDOLE

LEBAIVALU, representing tournament hosts Vanuaso, created history by winning the inaugural Vanuaso 7s tournament title, beating Police Blues 28-26 in a nail-biting final at Ratu Cakobau Park yesterday.

It was tit for tat affair throughout the match with Lebaivalu winning through the boots of skipper and playmaker Luke Lutunavanua who didn’t miss a conversion during the main final.

“Playing Police is never easy.”

Lutunavanua said. Police struck first in the opening minutes with Ratu Meli Kulisaru going under the sticks and Livai Ikanikoda adding the extras.

Lebaivalu hit back straight after with Lutunavanua finding a chink in the Police armour for a runaway try and also adding the conversion.

Lebaivalu scored again through Jo Bilo Green after Police infringed outside their 10 metre line to score. Lutunavanua added the extras.

Police were not out yet and applied added pressure sending nippy veteran Ikanikoda into the right of the uprights and also adding the extras.

Halftime scores levelled at 14 all.

“The message to the players at halftime was to make Police play our game and we went out and executed.”

Lutunavanua said. Former Fiji 7s player Leo Naikasau kept the scoreboard rolling in the second spell getting Lebaivalu’s third try also successfully converted by Lutunavanua.

Police skipper Keponi Paul hit back for their third try immediately after when the Lebaivalu defence was caught back paddling. Ikanikoda successfully adding the two points.

Lebaivalu wing Green got his second try of the game after fancy footwork left the Police line flatfooted. Lutunavanua again added the extras.

Ikanikoda would score again at the death but was unlucky with the conversion ending the game 26-28 to Lebaivalu. Lebaivalu walked away with the $8000 prizemoney.

Other final results:

Bowl final: Narocake Katudrau 7 – 14 Exile Brothers

Plate final: Niubuto One 14 – 17 Zion Brothers 1500

Cup final: Police Blues 28 – 26 Lebaivalu

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