Fiji got the better of their Pacific Island rivals Samoa with a thrilling display of running rugby in the final of the Pacific Nations Cup. Both sides scored some wondeful tries, but Fiji came out on top with a 39-29 victory in Burnaby, Canada.
Fiji were on fine form with the likes of athletic second rower Leone Nakarawa scoring two of their five tries, along with one a piece by fullback Kini Murimurivalu, loose forward Akapusi Qera, and scrumhalf Niko Matawalu, who himself could have grabbed a brace.
The victory, Fiji’s first win in five attempts against Samoa, earned them their second Pacific Nations Cup title, giving them confidence ahead of the World Cup, where they will be in Pool A with Australia, England, Wales and Uruguay.
“The PNC is a major part of our build-up towards the Rugby World Cup and to win the tournament is a major plus for us,” delighted captain Qera said.
“We will now go back home and enjoy a few days off with family, then it will be back in camp to focus on the England game. We know that it is not going to be easy against England. We are in a pool that has been labelled as a pool of death, and we will survive that pool.”
Also on the final day of the PNC, 16 points from the boot of Kurt Morath and tries from Halani Aulika, Fetu’u Vainikolo and Sonatane Takulua saw Tonga secure a hard-fought 31-20 victory over Japan in the opening match of the day at the Swangard Stadium.
In the other game of the day, AJ MacGinty hit a drop goal in the 80th minute as the USA edged Canada 15-13 in the North American derby to decide fifth place.