Team Fakaofo inspired by B-team dramatics to sweep Rugby union matches at Tokelau Games
Team Fakaofo could well go through the 2017 Tokelau Games undefeated. After its women went through undefeated earlier in the day, the Men’s B team’s final minute try snatched an unlikely win against defending champions Nukunonu yesterday set the tone for its Men’s A to defeat Atafu A in the last game yesterday.
The B Division match kicked off at 1pm with a stirring Nukunonu haka led by Kalolo Pasilio. The haka intensity translated into early Nukunonu dominance, especially in the physical exchanges.
But Fakaofo slowly played its way back into the match and midway through, sustained forward pressure led a try near the uprights. Although the conversion was unsuccessful, Fakaofo had wrested the momentum off Nukunonu.
However, the Nukunonu supporters’ lape re-energised their team. In a surging movement down the right flank, their pack powered over the right hand corner. The try was awarded. There were minor protests that the try-scorer’s foot crossed the touch line in the act of scoring but the assistant referee was confident the try had been scored.
The try stood. The conversion was pushed to the left and the two teams went into half-time locked at 5-5 all.
The second half was even early on until the Nukunonu forwards began to assert dominance. The match see-sawed with strong runs from the forwards and darting attacks by each set of backs.
With 5-minutes left to full time, Nukunonu’s forwards won a crucial penalty. It was a difficult kick but the flyhalf kept his nerve to slot the goal.
As the clock ticked 80minutes, a Nukunonu error forced a scrum at the halfway mark. A lapse in Nukunonu’s defence saw a yawning gap open on the blindside. Fakaofo pounced and its number 8 raced down the left flank. He drew the last line of defence to free their left winger a run to the tryline. He still had a lot of work to do as Nukunou’s cover defence flew at him. But with determination he timed his dive to take both tackler and himself over the tryline to claim a dramatic win.
It would have been a hard pill for defending champions Nukunonu to swallow, they only had to survive one final play and the match was theirs. But you make your own luck and Fakaofo showed that rugby is an 80-minute game. If you focus for the entire match, good things come to those who never give up.
With the sideline conversion successful, the Fakaofo camp erupted in celebration, now, an all too common occasion at these 2017 Games.
The A Division again saw Fakaofo triumph over Atafu. A match that saw the first red card (against Atafu).
Ahead of tomorrow’s final day, Team Fakaofo is unbeaten at these Games. In the Kilikiti tournament, Fakaofo won the title undefeated.
Men’s B Division: Fakaofo def Nukunonu – HT 5-5 | FT 12-8
Men’s A Division: Fakaofo def Atafu – HT 3-0 | FT 13-3
For more information contact: Margaret Pedro | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org