Samoa win Pacific Nations Cup

Samoa became the first Pacific Island nation to win the Pacific Nations Cup rugby tournament when it shocked favorite Fiji 31-9 in the Samoan capital on Saturday.

Fiji went into the final round of the tournament unbeaten in two games and widely expected to win the Pacific title for the first time. But Samoa, recently crowned world rugby sevens series champions, scored five tries to none to clinch the title.

Both teams finished with two wins and a loss from three games, but Samoa compiled a better points differential.

Joe Tekori and Mikaele Pesamino scored tries as Samoa opened a 14-3 lead by halftime Saturday. Fullback Taniela Rawaqa provided Fiji’s only first half points with a penalty.

Sevens star Alefoti Faosiliva scored two second-half tries and Uale Mai added another a minute from fulltime as Samoa made its win convincing. Lolo Lui kicked three conversions for Samoa.

Rawaqa added two penalties in the second half for Fiji, who were outmuscled by Samoa in the crucial forward battle.

The Pacific Nations Cup has been dominated by New Zealand teams since its inception in 2006, but the absence of New Zealand and Australian sides this year opened the way for Samoa to become the first Pacific Island winner.

Flyhalf James Arlidge kicked 16 points as Japan beat Tonga 26-23 in the other match played Saturday.

Kensuke Hatakeyama scored a try for Japan who were also awarded a penalty try while former New Zealander Arlidge kicked four penalties and two conversions.

William Helu and Alipate Fatafehi scored tries for Tonga, while Kurt Morath kicked three penalties and two conversions for 13 points.


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