Lima says good-bye to home crowd

Popular Samoan rugby veteran Brian Lima said farewell to his home crowd in winning style in Apia on Saturday as his side thrashed Tonga 50-3 in a Pacific Nations Cup match.

It was the last home game for the 34-year-old stalwart of Samoan rugby who has announced he will step down from Test rugby following the World Cup in France later this year.

The victory confirmed Samoa as the leading island nation in the Pacific Cup, finishing third behind regional powers the Junior All Blacks, who won the series for the second consecutive year, and Australia A.

Samoa were never in danger against Tonga, running in seven tries and leading 29-3 at the turn.

Census Johnson and David Lemi scored twice while Ulia Ulia, Mahonri Schwalger and Alesana Tuilagi also touched down. Loki Crichton kicked four conversions and a penalty, and replacement Lolo Lui kicked two conversions.

For Tonga, Pierre Hola landed a sole penalty.

But for the huge crowd the result was of secondary significance to the festival atmosphere in which they saw one of their great modern-day warriors do battle for the last time.

Known as ‘the chiropractor’ for his bone-crunching tackles which often left him as damaged and senseless as his target, Lima has been a feature of the Samoan side for 17 years and 63 tests playing at either wing or centre.

Throughout his career he has also been variously based in New Zealand, Japan, France, England and Ireland but never turned his back on his home island in the South Pacific.

Lima, who is the only player to have scored tries in four World Cups, is set to make history later this year when he is expected to become the first player to appear in five World Cups.

Sapa-AFP & 365 Digital

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