Pacific Nations Cup

'No excuses' from Manu Samoa for loss

The Manu came back from a 17-3 half time deficit lose 24-22 in Suva

Zane Hilton said with rugby World Cup qualification coming up for Samoa the time for excuses was over.

"We really understand that the country, like the team itself, we want to start to get that winning culture back," Hilton said.

"So the reality is we were extremely disappointed around our execution and the fact we let ourselves down in some key areas."

Fiji beat Samoa in first round of Pacific Nations Cup

Fiji’s tries in the first half were scored by Kini Murimurivalu, Ben Volavola and Henry Seniloli while there only try in the second half so far was scored by Vereniki Goneva.

Captain Akapusi Qera,  Jale Vatubua Eroni Mawi were yellow carded for dangerous tackle.

Samoa managed to score 3 tries and converted a penalty.

Tusi Pisi opened Samoa’s scoreline when he converted a penalty in the first half.

Melani Matavao, Jack Lam and Dwayne Polataivao added to Samoa’s score.  


Fiji, Samoa name new caps for Pacific Nations Cup opener

Brive midfielder Sevanaia Galala is the only new cap in the Flying Fijians starting fifteen, with European Player of the Year Leone Nakawara headlining a strong forward pack and Aviva Premiership Player of the Year Vereniki Goneva spearheading the backs.

Prop Eroni Mawi, hooker and former Fiji under 20s captain Ratu Veremalua Vugakoto and first five Alivereti Veitokani are also poised to win their first caps off the bench.

Fiji coach John McKee said the defending champions are keen to play an open, expansive game.

Tonga gifted a spot at RWC 2019 in Japan

With the combined results of the 2016 and 2017 cups doubling as World Cup qualifiers, Samoa needed to at least draw with the unbeaten Fijians to overhaul Tonga and reach the tournament in Japan in two years time.

Even a bonus point in defeat might have been enough.

They led 16-14 at half time in Apia but had no answers as Fiji over-ran them in the second half.

Fiji, who secured qualification last week when they defeated Tonga 14-10, scored five tries in total, including a hat-trick to scrumhalf Henry Seniloli.

A lot at stake for Manu Samoa this weekend

However, a lot more is at stake for Samoa.

Samoa must get something out of their match with Fiji if they are to beat Tonga to the Oceania 2 place and avoid a battle with a European team and potentially also the repechage to qualify.

Samoa's points difference is significantly better (+31) than the 'Ikale Tahi's if they were to both finish with six competition points across the two editions of the Pacific Nations Cup.

Baabaas game a welcome test for Manu Samoa

Six of the starting fifteen, including captain Ofisa Treviranus, first five Tusi Pisi and fullback Tim Nanai-Williams didn't feature in the Pacific Nations Cup, while Rey Lee Lo's last test was at the end of last year.

Stephen Betham says some players haven't played a game of rugby for almost two months and need to get some minutes under their belts.

No splitting Pacific Island rivals

Fiji and Samoa had both won their opening Pacific Nations Cup matches last weekend, against Tonga and USA respectively, and it was a typical encounter between two Pacific Island nations, each hungry for a morale-boosting victory as the countdown to RWC 2015 continues.

Michael Stanley kicked Samoa into an early lead and after their captain Alesana Tuilagi had lost the ball forward on the line, the Flying Fijians came storming back with two tries in quick succession, both through second-row Leone Nakarawa to lead 12-3.