Warriors defeat Samoa A
22 March, 2011
Air Pacific Fiji Warriors 23 (13)
|Apolosi Waqatabu scores for the Warriors, |
Tries: Apisalome Waqatabu (2) Con: Taniela Rawaqa (2) Pen: Taniela Rawaqa (3)
Samoa A 12 (9) DG: Roger Warren Pen: Roger Warren (3)
Referee: Mounga Vea (Tonga)
Conditions: Dry becoming wet and slippery
Defending Pacific Rugby Cup champions the Air Pacific Fiji Warriors survived a bruising encounter against Samoa A to regain top spot on the Pacific Rugby Cup table after overcoming their Pacific neighbours 23-12 today at Lautoka’s Churchill Park.
The Warriors win was built on a strong defensive effort and the pace and cunning of winger Apisalome Waqatabu who scored a try in each half to put the game out of reach of the Samoans.
It was the visitors that had the best start to the game with captain and flyhalf Roger Warren snapping a 4th minute drop goal and then an 8th minute penalty to give his side a six-nil lead.
Warriors centre Adriu Delai, who had an exceptional game in the Warriors win against Tonga A last Saturday, took up where he left off against the Tongans when he split open the Samoan defense in the 13th minute only to knock on across the Samoan 22 metre line. From the ensuing play the Warriors were awarded the penalty and the trusted boot of Taniela Rawaqa made no mistake.
Five minutes later Rawaqa was on song again as the Warriors drew level six-all.
On the 26 minute mark Waqatabu scored the first of his two tries as he rounded the Samoan defense down the far touchline and then outpaced it to go in untouched. Again, Rawaqa made no mistake with the conversion as the Warriors took the lead 13-6.
Waqatabu’s try inspired the Samoans to raise their game and from the restart the Samoans almost hit straight back as they laid siege to the Warriors goal line led by impressive number 8 Misioka Timoteo. The Warriors defense though stood firm and in the end the Samoans had to rely on the trusted boot of Warren to cut the deficit to 13-9.
In the second half the heavens opened and the rain came down and players of both sides struggled with the slippery ball. However it seemed as if the Warriors were determined to bring the Samoans back into the game as they kicked possession away at almost every opportunity.
When Warren nailed his third penalty in the 64th minute and cut Samoa’s deficit to just a single point it was game on. In the 71st minute Warren missed what would’ve been one of the easier penalty efforts of the afternoon as the ball skidded across the face of the uprights and went wide.
However, with the Samoans continuing to press home their territorial advantage Fiji captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu caught the ire of Tongan referee Mounga Vea and was promptly yellow carded with seven minutes of the game to play.
Desperate for points Samoan fullback Titi Esau attempted a 60 metre penalty effort which went short and wide. It was to be Samoa’s last opportunity for points.
On the 80 minute mark Waqatabu claimed his second try in delightful fashion as he picked up a turned over ball and once again showed great speed and vision to chip over the encroaching Samoan defense and score. Rawaqa’s touchline conversion put the Warriors out of reach.
A final Rawaqa penalty deep into injury time gave the score line a flattering look as the Samoans now look to their must win game against Tonga A on Saturday to claim the Pacific Rugby Cup title currently held by the Fiji Warriors. AIR PACIFIC FIJI WARRIORS
1.George Ma’afu, 2.Viliame Veikoso, 3.Ratu Penijamini Makutu, 4.Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 5.Sekonaia Kalou, 6.Dominiko Waqaniburotu (C), 7.Malakai Volau, 8.Jimilai Naikadawa, 9.Nemia Ranuku, 10.Jonetani Ralulu, 11.Apisalome Waqatabu, 12.Ravai Fatiaki, 13.Adriu Delai, 14.Epeli Nayaravoro, 15.Ratu Taniela Maravunawasawasa Reserves -
16.Waisea Nailago, 17.Ratu Manasa Romumu, 18.Tevita Cavubati, 19.Ratu Aca Ratuva, 20.Kelemedi Bolatagane, 21.Josateki Naisilisili, 22.William Saukuru SAMOA A
1.Logovii Mulipola, 2.Pelesiusi Fualau, 3.Taligatuli Moala, 4.Nifo Nifo, 5.Maselino Paulino, 6.Paul Taula, 7.Falemiga Selesele, 8.Misioka Timoteo, 9.Faatalatala Fagasoaia, 10.Roger Warrren (C), 11.Morgan Salesa, 12.Herman Porter, 13.Taputoa Rea, 14.Pesamino Alauni, 15.Titi Esau Reserves -
16.Viliamu Afatia, 17.Rupena Leilua, 18.Levi Asifaamatala, 19.Iosefa Timusa, 20.Tenari Saumani, 21.Faafou Amate, 22.Soa Manulele