Suva – Fiji successfully retained the
Pacific Nations Cup when they beat Samoa by 26-16 at the ANZ National Stadium
in Suva on Saturday.
The visitors were outscored by two tries to
one in the end despite enjoying a 16-10 lead at half time.
However a brilliant second half performance
from Fiji along with the educated boot of Fiji veteran Seremaia Bai helped the
home side to snatch the match by a ten point margin and the Pacific Nations Cup
for a second successive year.
The stalwart playmaker’s fine form from the
tee saw him kick two conversions and four penalties as he took his personal
tally to 16 points.
Tries for Fiji were scored by captain Sunia
Koto and the match sealing 77th try from left wing Patrick Osborne while it was
Motu Matuu (add more players) who crossed the whitewash for Samoa.
Not only did Sunwolves flyhalf Tusi Pisi
kick three penalties that handed the Samoans a comfortable 9-3 lead as the
final ten minutes of the first half approached but the pivot made sure that the
visitors were starved of the ball as Samoa made most of the plays.
This clever play from the number ten along
some strong running from the visitors’ forwards allowed hooker Motu Matuu to
crash over for the first try of the match while Koto crashed over in the last
ten minutes of the first half which saw the scoreboard on 16-10, firmly in
favour of Samoa as the players made their way into the tunnel.
Fiji, however, came out firing in the
opening minutes of the second half, retaining the ball in excellent fashion
this clinical display of skill and talent allowed the 37-year-old Bai to level
the scores within the first ten minutes of the second 40 via two well directed
The moment of the match came three minutes
from time when the Highlanders speedster dotted down for the home side and with
that not only secured a 26-16 win for Fiji but also retain the Pacific Nations
Tries: Koto, Osbourne
Cons: Bai 2
Pens: Bai 4
Yellow Card: Nayacalevu
Pens: Pisi 3