Despite the defeat, Samoa A captain Greg Foe believes his side made progress over the past fortnight.

“I think we grew a lot as a team over the last two weeks especially with the new boys coming in from overseas. It’s been an awesome experience in Fiji,” he said.

Yasuda hat-trick in vain

Tonga A had enough in reserve to withstand the threat of Junior Japan and overturn their defeat to the same opposition earlier in the competition.

Atelea Moa’s third-minute try was followed by a brace of tries for fly-half Fe’ao Hui but winger Takuhei Yasuda kept Junior Japan in touch with two of his own.

Turning around 26-14 in arrears, Junior Japan struck the first blow of the second half when Yasuda completed his hat-trick three minutes after the restart. With Ryoyo Nakamura’s conversion, Junior Japan were back to within four points of the Islanders.

However, that was as close as they got as tries from centre Alfred Hausia and capatain and hooker Sione Lolohea put Tonga A 44-22 in front.

Junior Japan had the final say when awarded a penalty try in the final minute against a Tonga A side that had been reduced to 14 men following a yellow card to Lemeki Moala.

“We got better and our confidence grew with every game,” said Lolohea. “It was the first time that most of the players had been on tour or at a tournament like this.”



Photos: Bruce Southwick/Zoomfiji