Fiji retain the Pacific Nations Cup title

Date published: June 18 2016

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 veteran Seremaia Bai helped the home side to snatch the result by a ten-point margin, and the Pacific Nations Cup for a second successive year.

Bai'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 Highlanders wing Patrick Osborne, while it was Motu Matu'u who crossed the whitewash for Samoa.

Not only did Sunwolves fly-half Tusi Pisi kick three penalties to handed the Samoans a comfortable 9-3 lead as the final ten minutes of the first half approached, but the number ten made sure that the visitors were starved of the ball.

That tactic along some strong running from the visitors' forwards allowed hooker Matu'u to crash over for the first try of the match while Koto scored in the last ten minutes of the first half to make the scoreboard 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 to allow the 37-year-old Bai to level the scores within the first ten minutes of the second half via two well directed penalties.

The moment of the match came three minutes from time when the Osborne dotted down for the home side and with that not only secured a 26-16 win for Fiji but also made sure that they retained the Pacific Nations Cup title.

The scorers:

For Fiji:
Tries: Koto, Osbourne
Cons: Bai 2
Pens: Bai 4
Yellow Card: Nayacalevu

For Samoa:
Try: Matu'u
Con: Pisi
Pens: Pisi 3

Fiji: 15 Samisoni Viriviri, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Eroni Vasiteri, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Seremaia Bai, 9 Henry Seniloli, 8 Eremasi Radrodro, 7 Naulia Dawai, 6 Leone Nakarawa, 5 Tevita Cavubati, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Leeroy Atalifo, 2 Sunia Koto (c), 1 Campese Maáfu 
Replacements: 16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Taniela Koroi, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Mosese Voka, 21 Serupepeli Vularika, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Benito Masilevu

Samoa: 15 Albert Nikoro, 14 Faatoina Autagavaia, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Faialaga Afamasaga, 11 David Lemi (c), 10 Tusiata Pisi, 9 Dwayne Polataivao, 8 Alafoti Faosiliva, 7 Greg Foe, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Teofilo Paulo, 4 Faatiga Lemalu, 3 James Johnston, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Sakaria Taulafo
Replacements: 16 Maatulimanu Leiataua, 17 Sam Aiono, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Jeff Lepa, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Pelefofoga Cowley, 22 Patrick Faapale, 23 Malu Falaniko

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), James Leckie (Australia)