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Friday, May 24, 2024

Ikitau brace helps Brumbies to win over surging Drua

A brace from Wallabies centre Len Ikitau has led the ACT Brumbies to a hard-fought 28-20 victory over the hard-running Fijian Drua to keep their hopes of a home semi-final alive.

After getting off to an early lead, the Brumbies ceded the momentum but managed to hold on against the fast-finishing Fijians in Canberra.

Saturday night’s win keeps the Brumbies in the running for a top-two finish, trailing the second-placed Blues by five points with four rounds to go in the Super Rugby Pacific regular season.

Ikitau opened the scoring in the sixth minute before returning captain Allan Alaalatoa crossed over two minutes later to give the home side a 14 point advantage.

Ikitau popped up again with the play of the night, perfectly timing a dart into the opposition 22m zone to link up with a precision Tamati Tua grubber kick and bag his second five-pointer in the 37th minute.

Both sides struggled to maintain possession, with handling impacted by the cold and wet conditions.

Vocal Fijian support cajoled the visitors back into the game and was rewarded by a try to Isola Nasilasila on the stroke of halftime. 

The Drua maintained the ascendancy after the break and thought they had snuck through again to open the second half but replays showed Peni Matawalu dropped the ball on the tryline.

The Fijians’ concerted pressure eventually told when Simione Kuruvoli outflanked the Brumbies right edge to score his first Super Rugby try.

But the home side held their nerve to wrestle back control and settled the game with a try from substitute Luke Reimer in the 66th minute.

The Brumbies will travel to Sydney to face the cellar-dwelling NSW Waratahs next week, hoping to gain further ground on the Hurricanes and Blues who face off in a top-of-the-table clash.

The Drua will rue their missed opportunities with the Highlanders and Moana Pasifika nipping at their heels.

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