Fiji hit back following their loss to Tonga by throwing the IRB Pacific Nations Cup wide open on Saturday, defeating Samoa 36-18.
Fiji responded to their loss to Tonga by throwing the IRB Pacific Nations Cup wide open on Saturday, beating Samoa 36-18 in Suva.
The talking point in Suva was the turnaround by the Fijians. With pressure on boss Sam Domoni, his side stepped up from the first whistle.
Both teams mixed it up in the middle but it was against the run of play that former Fiji sevens skipper Vereniki Goneva intercepted the ball from deep inside his 22 to sprint away for the opening try. Nicky Little's conversion made it 7-0.
However, two penalties by Tasesa Lavea and James So'oialo got the Samoans back into the match but Little added another penalty after Samoa infringed at scrum time to make it 10-6.
However, from a nothing kick Samoan wing Sailosi Tagicakibau gathered and broke away to score a try for his side and the visitors took a 11-10 lead.
Unforced errors were the downfall for both sides and there was further blow for Samoa as they lost Filipo Levi to the sin bin for stamping on a Fijian player.
This gave Fiji an added edge and the side managed to get a try just before half time through Campese Ma'afu after several phases of play. Little converted to make it 17-11 at half-time.
After the restart, Fiji cranked up another gear and outplayed Samoa in all facets, Goneva setting up inside centre Ravai Fatiaki for his first ever international try.
Little missed the conversion but Fiji led 22-11. Samoa threw on the replacements but to no avail as indecisive play was their main enemy.
The little chance Samoa had to come back was shattered when Fiji full back Taniela Rawaqa intercepted deep in his 22 to sprint away under the posts and replacement fly half Waisea Luveniyali added the extras to make it 29-11.
Samoa did score through Timoteo Iosa but Fijian lock and former Otago player Sekonaia Kalou pounced on a loose ball and beat the cover defenders for the final try, which was converted by Luveniyali for the final 36-18 score.
“We had an action plan that we had to follow through the week after the Tonga game to rectify all our mistakes,” said Fiji coach Sam Domoni.
Tries: Goneva, Ma'afu, Fatiaki, Rawaqa, Kalou
Con: Little 2, Luveniyali 2
Tries: Tagicakibau, Iosa
Pens: Lavea, So'oialo
Fiji: 15 Taniela Rawaqa, 14 Ilikena Bolakoro, 13 Albert Vulivuli, 12 Ravai Fatiaki, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Nicky Little, 9 Nemia Serelevu, 8 Sakiusa Matadigo, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Rupeni Nasiga, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Sekonaia Kalou, 3 Deacon Manu (c), 2 Talemaitoga Tuapati, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Replacements: 16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Penijamini Makutu, 18 Josefa Domolailai, 19 Malakai Volau, 20 Vitori Buatava, 21 Waisea Luveniyali, 22 Adriu Delai.
Samoa: 15 James So'oialo, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 George Pisi, 12 Seilala Mapusua (c), 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Lualua Vailoaloa, 8 Taiasina Tuifua, 7 Manaia Salavea, 6 Ezra Taylor, 5 Daniel Leo, 4 Joe Tekori, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Logovii Mulipola, 18 Filipo Levi, 19 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 20 Uale Mai, 21 Tasesa Lavea, 22 Timoteo Iosua.
With thanks to the IRB