A superb first-half performance helped Samoa see off Tonga 30-10 in their Pacific Nations Cup clash in on Saturday.
It was definitely a game of two halves as the home side were 23-3 in front at the break before their quality dipped after the interval.
Samoa set up this victory early in the match when Tonga winger Otulea Katoa was yellow carded, with the hosts scoring 17 points during this period.
Katoa received his marching orders for a deliberate knock on deep inside his half which also saw referee Pascal Gauzère awarding a penalty try to Samoa.
Samoa lock Faatiga Lemalu then crossed for their second try shortly afterwards and their fly-half Patrick Faapale capitalised on his team’s dominance, kicking 13 points during the first half via three penalties and two conversions.
Tonga’s only points during the opening period came via a penalty from Tane Takulua, and they suffered a further setback in the second half when their full-back Tevita Halaifonua was also yellow carded. But unlike the first half, Samoa couldn’t capitalise on their numerical advantage.
Samoa were also reduced to 14 men inside the final quarter when Viliamu Afatia was sin-binned and during this period Tonga’s replacement lock Opeti Fonua crossed for their only try.
Samoa eventually secured victory when Danny Tusitala gathered a loose ball before scoring the matchwinning try in the 78th minute.
Tries: Penalty Try, Lemalu, Tusitala
Cons: Faapale 3
Pens: Faapale 3
Yellow Card: Afatia
Yellow Cards: Katoa, Halaifonua
Samoa: 15 Malu Falaniko, 14 Faatoina Autagavaia, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 David Lemi (c), 10 Patrick Faapale, 9 Pele Cowley, 8 Alafoti Faosiliva, 7 Greg Foe, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Faatiga Lemalu, 4 Jeff Lepa, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Manu Leiataua, 1 Sakaria Taulafo
Replacements: 16 Seilala Lam, 17 Sam Aiono, 18 Viliamu Afatia, 19 Filo Paulo, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Danny Tusitala, 22 D’Angelo Leuila, 23 Albert Nikoro
Tonga: 15 Tevita Halaifonua, 14 Otulea Katoa, 13 Apakuki Ma’afu, 12 Latiume Fosita, 11 Viliame Iongi, 10 Martin Naufahu, 9 Tane Takulua, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Jack Ram, 6 Nili Latu (c), 5 Uili Kolo’ofa’I, 4 Dan Faleafa, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Sosefo Sakalia
Replacements: 16 Sione Angaelangi, 17 Eddie Aholelei, 18 Sione Faletau, 19 Opeti Fonua, 20 Sione Tau, 21 Wayne Ngaluafe, 22 Viliami Hakalo, 23 Daniel Kilioni
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)