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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Samoa hang on to win in Fiji for the first time in sixteen years

Samoa's Tusi Pisi kicked six penalties to take them to a 18-13 Pacific Nations Cup victory over Fiji in Suva on Saturday. Fiji scored the only tries of the match but were let down by ill-discipline, as Samoa went on to finish top of the Pacific Conference.

Fiji lost at home to Samoa for the first time in 16 years, which will be a bit of a setback ahead of their must-win World Cup qualifier against the Cook Islands next week.

Fiji rose to 10th in the world following wins against Italy and Tonga but despite Samoa having a man sinbinned twice in the second half, the hosts couldn't take advantage. They had four kickable penalties in the last ten minutes but opted to go for lineouts, which the Samoans defended well.

"As soon as we arrived in Suva we talked about we hadn't won on this ground since 1998," said Samoa's captain David Lemi. "I made my Samoa debut in 2004 and it is a dream come true to win on this field here. Credit to the boys, it was tough.

"We looked at Fiji's game last week and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy but we had to do everything accurately. That’s what we showed today. I take my hat off to the forwards they scrummed well, they drove well and gave us the platform to play."

Fiji captain Akapusi Qera opted to stay positive ahead of next week's qualifier. "I thank the boys for their effort even though we lost we learnt from our mistakes. Discipline let us down this week but it’s not the end of the world. We get up again next week to prove ourselves next week."

The winner of the Fiji vs Cook Islands match will take a place in the World Cup's Pool A, alongside Australia, England, Wales and another playoff winner.

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