Fiji see off Tonga
Lautoka - Fullback Metuisela Talebula bagged two tries as Fiji turned around a half-time deficit to beat Tonga 29-17 in their Pacific Nations Cup match at Churchill Park here on Saturday.
The win means Fiji finish second in the quadrangular tournament, won by Samoa who pipped Japan last week 27-26, after earlier beating Fiji and Tonga to finish their three matches unbeaten.
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 half-time from three Kurt Morath penalties to a try by Talebula converted by Jonetani Ralulu.
Alaska Taufa increased Tonga's lead to 14-7 and Morath put them ahead again at 17-14 after Fiji had drawn level with a try to hooker Seremaia Naureure converted by Ralulu.
But 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 to finish with a match haul of 15 points.
Fijian Coach Inoke Male said he was impressed by the way in which his side bounced back in the second half, especially as they were coming off losses to Samoa and Scotland in the past two weeks.
"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 helped us win."
Tongan captain Taniela Moa said his side made too many simple mistakes which cost them the game.
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