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Fijian Drua thump reds, end Highlanders' season

By AAP
Selestino Ravutaumada. (Photo by Pita Simpson/Getty Images)

The Queensland Reds face a nervous wait after the Fijian Drua swallowed them up in a 41-17 win that secured a Super Rugby Pacific feel-good story with a finals berth in just their second season.

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The Drua dominated the second half after scores were locked 17-17 at the break, the wheels falling off for a Reds team now relying on other results to play finals.

Victory on a wet afternoon at Suva’s HFC Bank Stadium lifted Mick Byrne’s men above four teams, including the Reds, into seventh to assure them a quarter-final berth.

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And it bumped the Reds back to eighth – the Western Force now able to shunt them out of the finals picture and book their own berth with a win over the Chiefs in Perth later on Saturday.

Drua’s win was a fifth from six home games this season and came about in emphatic fashion, the hosts producing points from all corners to stun the helpless Reds.

A brilliant clearing kick and better chase from Selestino Ravutaumada set the tone, his charge down of Filipo Daugunu’s kick creating his own try.

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The Reds responded with set-piece tries to Ryan Smith and Fraser McReight but the Drua scored twice more in the half, Vilive Miramira benefiting from a cheeky Iosefo Masi chip that evaded a diving Tate McDermott.

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The Reds were never in the fight after the break, McReight sin-binned after repeat infringements and the Drua slowly turning the screws.

The Reds’ usually reliable line-out failed them, a throw on their own tryline over the back falling for hooker Tevita Ikanivere who scored the simplest of tries.

A runaway Joseva Tamani try only heightened the frenzied home crowd with seven minutes to go as the wheels fell off in what could be coach Brad Thorn’s final game in charge.

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