Ill-disciplined Fiji hold off Samoa charge

2018-06-09 09:20
Ben Volavola (Getty)

Suva - An unruly Fiji survived three yellow cards and a strong Samoa fightback to win their opening Pacific Nations Cup match 24-22, while Georgia hung on for a 16-15 win over Tonga in Suva Saturday.

Fiji led 17-3 at half-time, despite having centre Jale Vatubua and captain Akapusi Qera sinbinned, and stretched the lead to 24-3 while prop Eroni Mawi received a yellow card early in the second spell.

Kini Murimurivalu, Ben Volavola, Henry Seniloli and Vereniki Goneva scored tries for the defending champions, with Volavola adding two conversions.

With 20 minutes remaining Samoa started to overcome their high error count and began to pressure Fiji.

Scrum-half Melani Matavao, flanker Jack Lam and replacement scrum-half Dwayne Polataivaia all scored in the closing quarter but one missed conversion denied them a draw.

Meanwhile fullback Soso Matiashvili scored all of Georgia's points as they staved off a strong finish by Tonga to win their match 16-15.

Matiashvili converted his own try from a 90-metre kick-and-chase, and landed three penalties as Georgia built a 16-3 lead with 10 minutes remaining.

Tonga, who had been pinned inside their own half for most of the match by Georgia's accurate kicking, began to show signs of dominance when Racing 92 prop Ben Tameifuna came off the bench late in the game.

He brought stability to the pack as Tonga won two scrum penalties which led to tries by Viliami Lolohea and David Halaifonua.

But with time on the clock, a desperate attempt by Tonga to produce the match-winning points ended with a handling error.

Fiji play Georgia next week, while Tonga face Samoa.

Read more on:    fiji  |  samoa  |  rugby


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