Saturday, June 10, 2023
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Warriors thump Tonga, crowned WRPC champions

The Fijian Warriors are the new champions of the the World Rugby Pacific Challenge title after a dominating 73-25 win over Tonga A at Apia Park today.
This was also Head Coach Senirusi Seruvakula’s sixth title at the helm of the Fijian Warriors.

Tonga had all the possession in the opening stanza keeping Fiji pinned and in defensive mode near their own try line.

Tonga couldn’t break through the stonewall defence and settled for three points off the boot of fullback Lopeti Kiu with three minutes gone.
Fiji retaliated with a try soon after through openside flanker Motikai Murray with skipper Enele Malele converting on six minutes.
Prop John Muller crossed over soon after to extend the lead to 12-3 with 10 minutes gone.
The Warriors were caught offside an Kiu settled for another penalty which he converted successfully.
The more agile Fijians were striking from deep now and broken play allowed oitside centre Tevita Sabola under the crossbar with Malele converting with 15 minutes gone.
An unforced error from Tonga saw the Warriors pounce and quick ball outwide had Murray over for his second try of the match.
Malele could not convert with the scoreline kept at 24-6 with 20 minutes gone.
Tonga A stuck to their strengths and kept the ball upfront.
Numerous phases through the forwards finally paid off with number eight Puniani Malafu getting their first try with Kiu adding the extras with 24 minutes up.
The Warriors scored a well worked try off the back of a Tongan lost ball with a move started from Malele had blind wing Paul Dolokoto under the sticks for another try on 31 minutes with Malele adding the conversion.
The Warriors looked set to extend their lead once more as they took the ball into the opposition five metre line.l, but a spilt ball had the Tongans counter attack to have winger Siaosi Vakapuna over for a try with akiu converting on 36 minutes.
Frustration more than fatigue must have been felt by Fiji as Murray was shown a yellow card soon after for a dangerous tackle at the restart.
The Warriors, a man down would find their composure to strike again with another try through number eight Ilikimi Torosi as Malele converts for the half-time lead of 38-18.
Fiji looked to shut out the match early and immediate work from the restart and a number of phases had lock forward Isoa Tuwai over for a try by the uprights with Malele converting with just 41 minutes gone.
Murray would complete his hat trick on 55 minutes as the Tongans now began to slow.
Reserve flyhalf Ponipate Tuberi would add the conversion from out wide.
Openside wing Sireli Masi would score the Warriors ninth try on 62 minutes with Tuberi converting from the corner.
Malele controlled the remaining strikes off the second half with another superb run to put reserve scrum half Taitusi Lulusinu under thhe crossbar with Tuberi converting and 10 minutes left in the game.
On 74 minutes, Tonga showed they were going to fight to the final whistle and with a midfield break from vice-captain and lock Asaeli Ngahe and blindside flanker Viliame Kalipoli Vakata over for a try with reserve outside back Lepone Tagatua Lemanu converting.
Murray would score his fourth try of the match with Tuberi adding the conversion in extra-time to seal the win.
Fijian Warriors: John Muller, Nedly Grant, Vilikesa Nairau, Saula Qiolevu, Isoa Tuwai, Simione Bulai, Motikai Murray, Ilikimi Torosi, Jonathan Sovasova, Enele Malele, Paul Dolokoto, Ropate Rinakama, Tevita Sabola, Sireli Masi, Isikeli Basiyalo Reserves: Seremaia Komailevuka, Aisake Atani, Joseva Nasaroa, Semi Tokitani, Anasa Qaranivalu, Taitusi Lulusinu, Ponipate Tuberi, Jack Volavola
Tonga A: Sitaniselao Vakata, Mosese Havea, Isikeli Saneasi Vite, Penisimani Manfred Pifeleti, Asaaeli Ngahe, Viliami Kalipoli Vakata, Koliniusi Lepa, Puniani Malafu, Solomone Vaha’i, Siaosi Vakapuna, Leonaitasi Feke, Netaleni Rocky Taufaetau, Sosaia Fuapau, Savelio, Lopeti Kiu
Noa Biudole
Noa Biudole
Journalist |


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