July 09, 2022
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Samoa beats Tonga, stays in hunt

Samoa keeps its Pacific Nations Cup title hope alive after coming from behind to beat Tonga 34-18 in  Round 2 of the regional championship at Churchill Park in Lautoka today.

After a 31-26 victory in the first round against Australia A, the Samoans entered the match with the favourites tag but the Tongans after losing 36-0 to Fiji, put up a stellar show and surprised their neighbours.

Flyhalf James Faiva slotted two penalties within10 minutes to give the Tongans a 6-0 lead.

Samoa finally found some semblance of possession in the 20th minute, which led to their first points of the game with flyhalf AJ Alatimu slotting a penalty to narrow the deficit to three points.

Tonga closed the first half strong with two tries from inside centre Fetuli Paea as well as left lock Veikoso Poliniati with Faiva adding a conversion while hooker Ray Niua scored for Samoa in the 36th minute.

Tonga led 18-0 at the break but the Samoans returned with a different mindset and sheer determination to score 24 unanswered points in the second half.

 Niuia got his brace in the 46th minutes after the Ikale Tahi were reduced to 14 men with lock forward Sam Lousi being sin-binned for a head high tackle.

Niuia finished off his hat trick with a third try in the 54th minute, taking Samoa into the lead for the first time in the game, but two crucial missed conversions made it a 2 point ball game.

Faiva had a chance to regain the lead woth a penalty from right in front, but misjudged the wind to put it away.

Samoa extended their lead again, when second five eighth Tomu Manu judged his timing well to intercept a pass from the Tongan replacement halfback scoring a try with Alatimu successful with the conversion.

The Samoans finished with a flourish scoring their fifth try with three minutes left in the game, coupling interlinking forwards and backs to put blindside flanker Theo McFarland over the line, with the fatigued red defence unable to reply.

D’Angelo Leuila added the conversion and the final points of the game.

The teams:

Samoa- Andrew Tuala, Ray Niuia, Michael Alaalatoa, Samuel Slade, Chris Vui, Theo McFarland, Jack Lam, Jordan Taufua, Jonathan Taumateine, AJ Alatimu, Nigel Ah Wong, Tumua Manu, Neria Fomai, Ed Fidow, Danny Toala, Seilala Lam, Aki Seuli, Kalolo Tuilomo, Michael Curry, Fritz Lee, Auvasa Fale, D’Angelo Leuila, Lolagi Visinia.

Tonga- Sigfried Fisi’ihoi, Siua Maile, Ben Tameifuna, Veikoso Poliniati, Sam Lousi, Tanginoa Halaifonua, Sione Havili, Sione Tui’pulotu, Sonatane Takalua, James Faiva, Anzelo Tuitavuki, Fetuli Paea, Afusipa Taumoepeau, Tima Fainga’anuku, William Havili, Samuela Moli, Fe’ao Fotuaika, Siate Tokolahi, Semisi Paea, Solomone Funaki, Lotu Inisi, Manu Paea, Utumaka Mausia.

By Noa Biudole

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