Fiji coach Inoke Male insisted two-try hero Metuisela Talebula was pivotal in the 29-17 win over Tonga in the Flying Fijians final Pacific Nations Cup clash at Churchill Park in Lautoka yesterday.
Talebula finished with a match haul of 15 points from two tries, a penalty and a conversion.
“I was impressed with how the players bounced back in the second half especially after the losses to Samoa and Scotland in the past two weeks,” Male said.
"I'm very proud of how the boys played today. We played well in our two previous games but couldn't win.
"Metuisela Talebula was the key in this victory as his vision on the field help us win."
Fullback Talebula bagged two tries as Fiji turned around a half-time deficit to beat Tonga.
The win means Fiji finish second in the quadrangular tournament, won by Samoa who pipped Japan last week 27-26.
Tonga, who started the match with a side stacked with 14 overseas-based players, had the better of the first half and led 9-7 at halftime from three Kurt Morath penalties to a try by Talebula converted by Jonetani Ralulu.
Tonga slotted in their first try early in the second half with a Morath penalty before Fiji replied with a try to hooker Seremaia Naureure converted by Ralulu.
Fiji finished stronger over the closing 20 minutes with further tries to Talebula and Maikeli Mocetadra while Talebula also added a conversion and a penalty.