Tag: Ben Nakubuwai

Three talking points | Huddersfield Giants 12-30 Salford Red Devils

Salford earned an impressive 12-30 victory over Huddersfield – their fifth consecutive away win at the John Smith’s Stadium – and we take a look at three talking points from the game. 
Away victory
Salford’s 12-30 victory over Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium marked their first win on the road for almost ten months and what a victory it was!
A double from Jake Bibby alongside tries from Mark Flanagan, Ben Nakubuwai and Weller Hauraki saw the Red Devils earn a much-needed victory. Rob Lui was on form with the boot kicking five goals.
The Red Devils have come close to winning away from home this season with narrow losses at the likes of Wakefield Trinity and Widnes Vikings but with an away win under their belts in 2018, Ian Watson’s men will be looking to kick on in the coming weeks both on their travels and at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Jake Bibby
The winger crossed for two late tries to round off a hard-fought victory at the John Smith’s Stadium and was one of the standout performers for the Red Devils.
Both of Bibby’s scores came when the game already looked to be won but the winger finished in fantastic fashion to help Salford end the game in style.
However, it wasn’t just in attack where the youngster impressed. Innes Senior crossed for the Giants, but Bibby has his number after that twice stopping the Huddersfield winger from scoring in the corner.
Dominance
Salford dominated the game for large periods earning plenty of penalties on the back of solid running and quick play-the-balls.
Once again, the forwards matched the likes of Ukuma Ta’ai and Sebastine Ikahihifo while the outside backs were consistent bringing the ball from deep inside the Salford half.
The Red Devils also managed the game very well in the closing stages when Huddersfield looked like they may edge their way back into it which eventually paid dividend as it was Ian Watson’s men who ran away with it.

Match Report | Huddersfield Giants 12-30 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils cruised to their first Betfred Super League away victory of the season with a resounding 30-12 victory over Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Jake Bibby’s double along with further scores from Mark Flanagan, Ben Nakubuwai and Weller Hauraki ensured The Red Devils ran out deserved winners to earn a crucial two points in their bid to secure a place in the lucrative Super 8s.
Salford made a bright start to the contest and were unfortunate not to have scored in the fourth minute when Robert Lui’s forty-twenty forged a golden try-scoring opportunity – but Lui ultimately knocked the ball on to bring an end to the move.
The Red Devils’ perseverance paid dividends in the 13th minute when Mark Flanagan produced an exquisite step before diving past several Huddersfield defenders to cross over under the posts – Lui then added the extras to give Salford a 6 point lead.
Flanagan’s score seemed to instill some confidence into the Salford ranks and they were over again just two minutes later when some quick hands from Josh Jones and Flanagan allowed Ben Nakubuwai to burst into a huge gap in the Giants’ backline before powering over to cap off a fine move – Lui again converted the resulting goal.
Salford were running riot by this point and came close to scoring several minutes later. First, a clever move from Lui almost resulted in Niall Evalds touching down but the full-back slipped at the crucial moment before Junior Sa’u narrowly failed to capitalise on the loose ball from Jack Littlejohn’s cross-field kick just seconds later.
However, the hosts managed to swing the momentum in their favour and crossed over midway through the half when some slick passes from Danny Brough and Aaron Murphy provided Innes Senior with the opportunity to score – one which the young winger duly took after holding off Jake Bibby before diving over in the corner. Brough then landed the subsequent conversion to reduce the deficit to six points.
Huddersfield were reluctant to let Salford out of their half after Senior’s score and came close to scoring on three separate occasions after forcing The Reds into two goal-line drop outs before Matty English was held up thanks to a last ditch effort from Lama Tasi.
Salford were under the cosh and almost conceded once again as Senior looked destined to score in the left-hand corner before flicking the ball inside but the combined defensive efforts of Bibby and Weller Hauraki forced the winger and loose ball into touch.
After the interval, The Red Devils claimed the first points of the half when the hosts were penalised for an incorrect play-the-ball – Salford opted to kick at goal and Lui successfully converted the resulting goal in front of the sticks to give Salford an 8 point lead.
Salford were over again minutes later when Lui picked out the onrushing Hauraki who pierced through the Huddersfield line before crossing the whitewash, Lui then converted the resulting goal to take Salford up to the 20 point mark.
Despite the setback the hosts regrouped and clawed their way back into the contest when former Salford man Lee Gaskell’s short ball allowed Oliver Roberts to cross over unchallenged from close-range – Brough then added the extras.
A combination of individual errors and a number of excellent defensive displays resulted in a fairly open second period but the turning point of the half arrived in the final ten when Ukuma Ta’ai hit Flanagan with a late shot – Lui then landed the resulting goal from 32m out to extend the visitors’ lead to 10 points.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for The Giants when star-man Brough was sent off in the 76th minute for his verbal misconduct towards Referee James Child.
Salford crossed over again with three minutes left on the clock when Bibby emphatically finished off a free-flowing move in the right-hand corner after some sublime play from Lui and Kris Welham – however on this occasion Lui was unable to convert the resulting goal.
However, The Red Devils weren’t finished there as Weller Hauraki produced an excellent dummy before flicking the ball to Bibby who dived over for his second of the day as Salford cruised to victory. 
Huddersfield Lineup: Rankin, McIntosh, Turner, Murphy, Senior, Gaskell, Brough, Ikahihifo, Leeming, Clough, Roberts, Ta’ai, Smith.  Interchanges: Hinchcliffe, Walne, English, Mellor.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Bibby, Sa’u, Welham, Johnson, Lui, Littlejohn, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Mossop, Hauraki, Jones, Flanagan.  Interchanges: Tasi, Kopczak, Lannon, Wood.
Huddersfield Scorers: Tries-  Senior (23’), Roberts (55’) | Goals- Brough (24’, 56’
Salford Scorers: Tries- Flanagan (13’), Nakubuwai (15’), Hauraki (52’), Bibby (77’, 79’) | Goals-  Lui (13’, 16’, 44’, 52’, 71’)
Man of the Match: Robert Lui
Referee: James Child  Touch Judges: M Craven & D Bowmer
Attendance: 4,385 

Stat Pack | Salford Red Devils 32-16 Catalans Dragons

After yesterday’s dominant 32-16 victory over Catalans Dragons we take a look at all the stats behind the performance. 
Josh Jones
This week’s player in focus is second-rower Josh Jones who crossed for the Red Devils fourth try of the afternoon.
Jones, who is an ever-present so far this season, was one of three Salford players to break the 100 metres made mark alongside full-back Niall Evalds and prop-forward Craig Kopczak. Jones carried the ball 17 times throughout the afternoon.
The 24-year-old’s power was too much for the Dragons defence as Jones made five tackle busts and managed to get away three passes. Eight players amounted over twenty tackles with Jones also falling into that category.
Defence
It was another big defensive effort at the AJ Bell Stadium from the Red Devils and, on his 100th game for the Club, Logan Tomkins racked up the most tackles with 33. He was closely followed by Club Captain Weller Hauraki who made 32 and was the top tackler in the last home game against Hull FC.
Kris Welham was the top tackler in the backs as he made 20 tackles while fellow centre Junior Sa’u wasn’t far behind with 18. Greg Johnson, Rob Lui, Mark Flanagan and Luke Burgess all failed to miss a tackle in yesterday’s game.
Line breaking
In our three talking points from the Catalans game we mentioned the Red Devils ability to break from anywhere on the field and the stats only back that up.
Jake Bibby and Rob Lui both made two initial breaks in the game while Niall Evalds and Kris Welham also had an initial break apiece. Ben Nakubuwai was the only forward to make an initial break in the lead up to Greg Johnson’s try.
Catalans were struggling to contain Salford Jones, Evalds, Bibby and Lui all making a handful of tackle busts, in fact Lui totalled seven in the eighty-minute performance. Hauraki and Lee Mossop led the way for the forwards with three each.

Three talking points | Salford Red Devils 32-16 Catalans Dragons

Following yesterday’s impressive 32-16 victory over Catalans Dragons in the opening fixture of the Easter weekend we take a look at three talking points from the game.
Physicality
There will be some sore bodies this morning after that bruising encounter with the Catalans Dragons.
Yesterday afternoon’s game saw both sets of forwards really throw themselves about with the likes of Luke Burgess, Lee Mossop and Craig Kopczak standing strong in the middle.
Club Captain Weller Hauraki and Lama Tasi put on a show reel of big hits while Ben Nakubuwai continued to impress following his move to the AJ Bell Stadium. The game did get heated in spells, but Salford managed this better and came out on top.
Salford’s threat from deep
The Red Devils crossed for five tries and there were some very stylish and impressive scores from Ian Watson’s men.
Greg Johnson’s try saw a line break from Mark Flanagan who find fellow forward Ben Nakubuwai, the move would continue through the hands of half-back duo Josh Wood and Rob Lui before Johnson rounded off a fantastic try.
This ability to break from the middle of the field was on display again for Josh Jones’ first try of the season when Flanagan again found a gap before Lui and Niall Evalds linked up to put the second-rower over.
Home and Good Friday fortunes
Salford’s impressive run of form in Good Friday fixtures continued with five wins from their last six outings in the opening fixture of the Easter weekend.
Yesterday’s victory also saw the Red Devils extend their run of home victories in 2018 to three on the bounce with wins over Hull KR, Hull FC and now the Catalans Dragons.
The Red Devils will be hoping the AJ Bell Stadium continues to be a fortress in the coming weeks starting with Warrington Wolves next Saturday, 3:15pm kick-off.

Three Talking Points | Salford Red Devils 24-8 Hull FC

Following an impressive 24-8 victory over Hull FC on Friday evening we take a look at three talking points from the game. 
Defensive effort
The Red Devils conceded just one try on Friday evening and that came from Dean Hadley on the back of a low kick in behind the defence. Salford have now only conceded on the back of kicks in their last two home outings which is a sign of how sturdy the Red Devils defence has been.
Salford’s middles stood up well against the Hull FC pack – as they have all season while the back line where a match for everything the likes of Marc Sneyd, Carlos Tuimavave and Fetuli Talanoa threw at them.
The hosts also conceded less penalties in comparison to the trips to St Helens and Castleford which made the defensive effort needed much more sporadic.
And, it wasn’t just in contact where the defence was on point with Niall Evalds’ consistent kick return and the England Knights full-back pulled out a brilliant bit of skill to prevent a 40-20 at a crucial stage of the match.
Half-backs
Head Coach Ian Watson was quick to praise his half-back pairing of Robert Lui and Jack Littlejohn after Friday’s victory.
Salford scored four unanswered tries to seal a fantastic victory over one of last season’s top four with both Lui and Littlejohn crossing for individual scores. Littlejohn’s was his first as a Salford player.
Littlejohn finished off a breakaway try following a powerful break from Greg Johnson and Junior Sa’u and was a constant thorn in the side of FC down that left-hand side.
Salford had as much joy down the right-hand side with Robert Lui who’s kicking game caused issues for Hull throughout the game. Lui also took over goal kicking duties and slotted four from six including a pivotal penalty which put the Red Devils ahead at half-time.
Ben Nakubuwai
Ben Nakubuwai was voted as the Man of the Match by Executive Match Sponsors Freeths Lawyers and deservedly so.
Nakubuwai has settled into life in the Betfred Super League after debuting away at Wakefield and even powered over for his first Salford try in the first half against Hull FC.
He is certainly becoming a fan favourite already with his hard-hitting defensive efforts and powerful go forward. The young Fijian is proving to be a great addition to Ian Watson’s squad.

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 24-8 Hull FC

Salford Red Devils produced a stunning all-round team performance to cruise past Hull FC 24-8 in a hard-fought contest at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Maiden tries from Ben Nakubuwai and Jack Littlejohn along with further efforts from Robert Lui and Greg Johnson ensured The Red Devils ran out deserved winners and earned their first Betfred Super League victory since last month’s 36-18 triumph over Hull’s cross-city rivals Hull KR.
The Red Devils made a bright start to the contest and opened the scoring with just six minutes on the clock, Salford earned an early penalty and opted to take the two – Robert Lui successfully converted the resulting goal.
However, Hull responded well and crossed over less than ten minutes later when Dean Hadley latched onto Jake Connor’s low kick before touching down, Marc Sneyd added the extras.
The visitors were awarded a controversial penalty after Lama Tasi’s challenge was deemed late by referee Scott Mikalauskas – former Red Devil Sneyd successfully landed the goal to extend The Airlie Birds’ lead to six points.
Salford dug in and found themselves level minutes later – first Tyrone McCarthy offloaded to the onrushing Ben Nakubuwai who dived over for his first Salford try, before Lui added the extras to leave the scores tied at 8-8.
Nakubuwai’s score seemed to spur The Red Devils on as they took the lead for the first time in the tie just two minutes later – Salford earned another penalty and for the second occasion Lui opted to kick at goal, before successfully added the extras.
Salford extended their lead midway through the half when Greg Johnson broke away from the FC backline before offloading to Junior Sa’u who’s quick hands forged an opening for Jack Littlejohn to sprint 20m and dive over to claim his first try for the club, However Lui’s goal attempt was unsuccessful as the ball landed narrowly wide.
The hosts dominated throughout the second period and found themselves in again, Lui produced an eye-catching dummy which caught the entire Hull backline off guard – thus providing the half-back with enough space to touch down in the corner, Lui successfully added the extras to take Salford up to the 20 point mark.
Ian Watson’s side were thriving by this point and crossed over again two minutes later, the ever present Sa’u superbly offloaded to Johnson who produced an astonishing finish in the left-hand corner to claim his first score of the evening and cap off a fine all-round Salford performance.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Johnson, Sa’u, Welham, Bibby, Lui, Littlejohn, Mossop, Tomkins, Kopczak, Jones, Hauraki, Flanagan
Interchanges: Tasi, Nakubuwai, Wood, McCarthy
Hull FC Lineup: Shaul, Faramaio, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Connor, Sneyd, Taylor, Washbrook, Green, Hadley, Minichello, Abdull
Interchanges: Matongo, Fash, Bowden, Lane
Salford Scorers: Tries- Nakubuwai (35’), Littlejohn (61’), Lui (72’), Johnson (74’)
Goals- Lui (6’, 36’, 38’, 73’)
Hull Scorers: Tries- Hadley (14’)
Goals- Sneyd (15’, 28’)
Man of the Match: Ben Nakubuwai
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas
Touch Judges: M. Craven,  J. Roberts
Attendance: 2,902

Ian Watson names 19-man squad for visit of Hull KR

Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson has made just two changes to his 19-man squad to face Hull Kingston Rovers in Round Three of the Betfred Super League.
Mark Flanagan and Greg Johnson come into the squad for George Griffin and Derrell Olpherts.
Ben Nakubuwai retains his place in the squad following an impressive debut at Wakefield Trinity a fortnight ago. Logan Tomkins is also named after returning from injury against Trinity.
Here is the squad in full:

Ben Nakubuwai | “I feel like I’m settling in”

Fijian international Ben Nakubuwai made his Betfred Super League debut in Friday’s game at Wakefield and admits nerves were there prior to kick-off.
Nakubuwai, who is still available for sponsorship, said: “It was pretty exciting and I was grateful for the opportunity.
“I was a bit nervous at the start but once I got into it I felt comfortable and ready to go – I loved it.
“I think a big thing for me when I first came in was adjusting to playing in these conditions I’m used to playing in warmer weather I guess once I adjusted to that I think it’s just up from there for me really.
The World Cup star made a big impact from the interchange bench as The Red Devils stood up against Wakefield’s forwards and Nakubuwai knows that this is part of the job.
“No matter who is in front of us we have to do our job.
“It doesn’t matter how big or small they are we’ve just got to keep going forward.”
Nakubuwai will be looking to cement a regular position in the squad in the coming weeks as he feels he is now settled at Salford following his move.
Nakubuwai said: “It’s a good Club.
“It’s my first year here and they’ve all been pretty welcoming yeah I couldn’t have asked for anything more I feel like I’m settling in both on and off the field.”
 
If you’d be interested in sponsoring Ben Nakubuwai for the 2018 season contact Fiona.Woods@SalfordRedDevils.net.

Three talking points | Wakefield Trinity 14-12 Salford Red Devils

Following a narrow defeat at the hands of Wakefield Trinity in Round Two of the Betfred Super League we take a look at three talking points from Friday’s game.
The forward battle 
Wakefield’s power in the pack has been a big talking point heading into the 2018 season however Ian Watson’s forwards equalled, and if not, bettered Trinity up the middle on Friday evening.
Lee Mossop and Lama Tasi set the stall early for The Red Devils while a big interchange bench including Luke Burgess, Ben Nakubuwai and Craig Kopczak made a massive impact which is something Wakefield Head Coach Chris Chester eluded to in his press conference. Watch here.
Salford’s pack stood up to the likes of David Fifita and Pauli Pauli and kept Wakefield’s dangerous forwards quiet for the most part. This impressed Ian Watson who’s post-match press conference can be seen here.
Fijian debutant
Fijian World Cup star Ben Nakubuwai debuted for The Red Devils on Friday night and made a massive impact from the bench. Nakubuwai missed out against Wigan but he has certainly put his marker down for a position in the side against Hull Kingston Rovers.
The 21-year-old brought the ball forward constantly making metres with every carry and he was an absolute stalwart defensively in an all-around solid defensive performance from Ian Watson’s side.
Ben Nakubuwai’s post-match interview will be on Salford Red Devils TV later today.
Kris Welham and Niall Evalds
Niall Evalds moved from full-back to winger for Friday evening’s game at the Mobile Rocket Stadium, but it didn’t stop the 2017 top try-scorer from crossing for his second in as many games this season. Evalds finished off a flowing move from The Red Devils to draw them level on Friday.
Kris Welham also made it tries in consecutive appearances as he spun his way over in the final minute to give Salford the opportunity to earn a point. While it wasn’t to be Welham and Evalds are already showing the try-scoring threat Salford possess out wide in 2018.

Ian Watson | “We deserved more out of it”

Following a narrow 14-12 defeat against Wakefield Trinity, Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson thought his side were outstanding and deserved more from the game. 
Watson said: “I thought we were outstanding to be fair and consistent in areas which is what we’d spoke about.
“Against Wigan we were really good for like forty-five, fifty minutes and after that we kind of fell off it and we stopped doing things together as a team.
“We’d asked for consistency in our performance today and that’s what the boys worked on and to be fair I think they delivered and deserved more out of it to be fair.”
The result went down to the wire as Gareth O’Brien’s late conversion attempt went wide but Ian Watson concentrated on his sides performance rather than the result.
Watson said: “We’ve come to a team who’ve been talked up and spoke about being a top four team this year and kicking on from where they’ve been for the last three years.
“To come here and outscore them 3-2, we defended really well in large parts where our backs were against the wall on our goal-line defence in the first half.
“I just think the boys have stuck to the task and they’ve shown what we want to be about this season really which is competing against the top teams we just need to learn how to turn those into our results.”
Both sides turned the game into a real arm-wrestle at times and Watson was particularly impressed with his pack.
Watson said: “I thought our bench really lifted us.
“Lama [Tasi] and Moose [Lee Mossop] always gives us a solid start but I think our bench today really lifted us and lifted the intensity of the game.
“I’d say that’s probably the best game Koppy’s [Craig Kopczak] had for a long time.
“I thought Ben [Nakubuwai] showed what I kind of saw in Ben – great footwork at the line, getting his nose through and defensively very solid and worked really hard.
“He’s going to be a big player for us with a big future in the game as well.”