Samoa fight back to draw with Fiji

Date published: July 25 2015

A late penalty from Patrick Faapale gave Samoa a 30-30 draw against Fiji after they battled back in the Pacific Nations Cup.

The game in Sacramento looked to be heading Fiji's way when they led 27-10, but just as they did against the Maori All Blacks, the Flying Fijians ran out of steam in the second half.

First-half tries from Leone Nakarawa, twice, and Metuisela Talebula gave Fiji a 17-10 lead at the break, with Paul Perez crossing for Samoa.

Fiji stretched their lead early in the second half with a fine try from Gabiriele Lovobalavu converted by the impressive Ben Volavola, who then added a penalty to stretch the lead to 17 points.

Samoa hit back though, with Anthony Perenise going over in the corner, before Perez grabbed his second try with an incisive break in midfield.

Michael Stanley converted the second to cut the deficit to five points, and the teams were level when TJ Ioane went over nine minutes from time.

Volavola knocked over his second penalty of the game five minutes from time and looked to have sealed the win, only for Faapale to nick the draw with two minutes to go.

Fiji now move onto a clash with Japan, while Samoa will take on Canada. If both sides win, they will meet again the following week in the final of the competition.

The scorers:

For Fiji:
Nakarawa 2, Talebula, Lovobalavu
Cons: Volavola 2
Pens: Volavola 2

For Samoa:
Perez 2, Perenise, Ioane
Cons: Stanley 2
Pens: Stanley, Faapale

The teams:

Fiji: 15 Metuisela Talebula, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Nemia Kenatale, 8 Sakiusa Matadigo, 7 Akapusi Qera (c), 6 Peceli Yato, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Peni Ravai
Replacements: 16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Campese Maafu, 18 Taniela Koroi, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Malakai Ravulo, 21 Henry Seniloli, 22 Josh Matavesi, 23 Napolioni Nalaga.

Samoa: 15 Fa'atoina Autagavaia, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Michael Stanley, 9 Pele Cowley, 8 Sanele Vavae Tuilagi, 7 Jack Lam, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Faatiga Lemalu, 4 Filo Paulo, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Sakaria Taulafo
Replacements: 16 Manu Leiataua, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Jake Grey, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Faifili Levave, 21 Vavao Afemai, 22 Patrick Faapale, 23 Faleniu Iosi

Venue: Bonney Field, Sacramento, California
Referee: JP Doyle (England)