Moana Pasifika captain Solomone Funaki showed great determination as he scored a brilliant try during his team’s 43-33 defeat to the Rebels in their Super Rugby Pacific clash in Auckland on Saturday.
The home side were under the cosh as the Rebels held a comfortable 38-12 lead midway through the second half when Jonah Mau’u gathered the ball at a ruck before bursting upfield.
The flanker threw an inside pass midway between the Rebels‘ 22 and their 10-metre line to Alex McRobbie, who was then brought to ground but he managed to offload to Jonathan Taumateine.
The replacement scrum-half, McRobbie and Fine Inisi all handled the ball close to their opponents’ try-line before Taumateine threw a pass to the on-rushing Funaki, who showed great determination as he burst through two tackles before crossing for a well-taken try.
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Earlier, the Rebels raced into a 12-0 lead by the 18th minute after Lachie Anderson and Josh Kemeny scored tries with Reece Hodge adding one conversion.
Moana replied with a try from Neria Fomai in the 27th minute but the Rebels had their tails up at half-time as they held a 26-5 lead courtesy of further converted tries from Carter Gordon and David Feliuai.
The Rebels continued to dominate after the break as Alex Mafi scored their fifth try in the 49th minute before Moana responded with a Levi Auma five-pointer which Lincoln McClutchie converted shortly afterwards.
Mafi then crosed for his second try but the hosts’ revival continued with Funaki‘s score before two tries from Fine Inisi, which were both converted by McClutchie, narrowed the gap to five points in the game’s dying moments.
They went in search of a remarkable comeback victory but conceded a turnover inside their half and an injury time try from Monty Ioane sealed the Rebels’ win.
Video credit: Super Rugby Pacific