Flying Fijians thump Manu Samoa
Knights’ speedster Timoci Nagusa scored twice on his debut to see the Flying Fijians defeat the Manu Samoa with a bonus point 34-17 victory in their IRB Pacific Nations Cup opener at Churchill Park in Lautoka yesterday.
Nagusa’s first in the 26th minute came after a brilliant team effort. Following some impressive line-breaks by the forwards and outstanding support play from fellow winger and the experienced Vilimoni Delasau, Nagusa barged through two Samoan tackles and dummy his way over the Samoans try line. And 35 minutes later, the Knights winger stepped on the accelerator to stamp his second.
But it was the uncanny skipper and Saracens based scrumhalf Mosese Rauluni who got the ball rolling. The nippy Rauluni collected the ball from a ruck two metres away, sold the Samoan defenders a dummy before diving in to put Fiji on the scoreboard and in the lead. Fiji led 12-0 in the break.
The Rawaqa cousins, Taniela and Ifereimi scored a try each in the second half to add to the Flying Fijians’ tally whilst the Samoans came back in the last 15 minutes of play to notch their three tries.
Ilivasi Tabua (Flying Fijians head coach)
“There is still room for improvement as this is their first game together. I'm happy about their performance they have stood up for the challenge and started our Pacific Nations Cup campaign on a high note.”
“The new players have really stamped their mark; Nagusa has proven himself in 7s and also in the Colonial Cup this season. I gave him a chance in the first line up and he has really proven himself. I fielded all the young players during the match to give them the maximum exposure and also to build their confidence.”
“Sireli Naqelevuki and Kameli Ratuvou both played well at centre. The change in position didn't affect the teams' performance as they are naturally talented but they just need the right guidance.
At half time I've advised the boys to keep the rhythm of their performance and most importantly keep a strong line of defense. The Samoan weren't playing the ball out wide and that was our advantage.”
Filipo Levi (Samoa captain)
“It's another big step for our team; most of us have come from the Pacific Rugby Cup games straight to the PNC. We have six new caps but our combination didn't work well. I believe we lost to a better team and this has been a learning curve for us.”
“There is still concern in the line outs and the inclusion of the experienced players in the second half became a giant step forward for the young blood. I believe that the next game we would be more acclimatized to tense competition and we'll be able to handle the pressure in the field.”