Tonga qualify for RWC after Fiji beat Samoa

Fiji ended their 2017 Pacific Nations Cup campaign with a convincing 38-16 win over Samoa in Apia on Saturday.

Henry Seniloli’s hat-trick, combined with tries from Jale Vatatuba and Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, secured a win that ensured that Fiji retained the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup, a title they have held since 2015.

The result is also significant as it means Tonga qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan after finishing second to Fiji in the combined 2016/17 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup standings.

With Samoa failing to secure a bonus point in a 16-38 defeat to Fiji in the final match in Apia on Saturday, Tonga qualify for rugby’s showcase event as Oceania two and complete the Pool C line-up, joining England, France, Argentina and USA.

Samoa now face the prospect of a play-off against the winner of Czech Republic or Portugal versus the second-placed team in the 2016/17 Rugby Europe Championship (excluding Georgia, who have already qualified) for a place in Pool A at Japan 2019.

Fiji, who last week booked their place at Rugby World Cup 2019, produced a fine performance to comfortably win a highly-entertaining match in Apia despite training 16-14 at the interval.

David Lemi, making his 50th test appearance for Samoa, was the home side’s only try scorer with a scintillating first-half finish.

The scorers:

For Samoa:
Try:
Lemi
Con: Pisi
Pens: Pisi 3

For Fiji:
Tries:
Seniloli 3, Vatubua, Ratuniyarawa
Cons: Volavola 5
Pen: Volavola

Samoa: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 David Lemi (c), 10 Tusiata Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotualii, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Faatiga Lemalu, 4 Chris Vui, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Elia Elia, 1 Jordan Lay
Replacements: 16 Seilala Lam, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 James Lay, 19 Galu Taufale, 20 Vavae Tuilagi, 21 Auvasa Falealii, 22 D'Angelo Leuila, 23 Ahsee Tuala

Fiji: 15 Timoci Nagusa, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Henry Seniloli, 8 Nemani Nagusa, 7 Akapusi Qera (c), 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 1 Campese Maáfu
Replacements: 16 Sunia Koto, 17 Joeli Veitayaki, 18 Kalivati Tawake, 19 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 20 Viliame Mata, 21 Frank Lomani, 22 Eroni Vasiteri, 23 Josua Tuisova

Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Marius Mitrea (Italy), Nick Briant (New Zealand)

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