|The Fiji Airways Fijiana and Samoa’s Manusina kicked off the 2018 Oceania Rugby Women’s Championships today by registering impressive wins over Tonga and Papua New Guinea respectfully.
A strong and vocal local crowd took the opportunity to see some international women’s matches at Churchill Park in Lautoka ahead of the weekend.
MATCH ONE: PAPUA NEW GUINEA v SAMOA
PAPUA NEW GUINEA 45 (Tries: Mark 3, Yalon 2, Rama, Lavai 1; Cons: Lavai 5; YC Waula, Kaore, Wartovo) defeated by SAMOA 56 (Tries: Pauaraisa, Foaese 2, Live, Fatu, Smalley, Maiava, Falesita, Sa’u 1; Cons: Mose 2, Smalley 1; YC Pauaraisa)
Papua New Guinea were quick to make their mark in the first game of the day when Mala Mark crossed for the her first try before the end of the 1st minute. A stunned Samoa team responded within 5mins with an unconverted try curtesy of Sau in what proved to be a seesawing attack filled match. After a well needed water break from the steaming Nadi sun, the PNG Palais looked on track to run away with the game. However, the gallant Manusina were not to be denied and pounced back with 3 breakaway tries in the last 8 mins of the first half to take the lead (26-29) into the sheds at half time.
Papua New Guinea once again came out strong early in the second half to post another 4 converted tries, but it wasn’t enough to stop the well drilled Samoan side, going down by 11 (45-56) in the end. PNG will be rueing three yellow cards which may have cost them a famous victory against the more fancied Manusina from Samoa.
Despite not coming away with the win and battling a team hit with injuries Palais Captain Debbie Kaore was pleased with the team’s performance saying,
“It feels so good to play here. Most of our players also just arrived this morning and although most of us felt jetlagged, we came for a reason and it was to give our best. I’m really proud of the girls as they went out hard. We knew we had the win but it just slipped out of our hands.”
Sui Pauaraisa Manusina captain had nothing but praise for her team saying,
“I’m so proud of the girls as it’s our first game together as a team and we’re all from different places. We didn’t know our opposition except that they were quick, so we opted to use our strength which was our forwards.”
Further adding, “We’ve been waiting for this tournament for so long because Manusina hasn’t been together since 2014 so it’s a good start for us.”
MATCH TWO: FIJI v TONGA
FIJI 53 (Tries: Nagasau, Timaima, Tinai 2; Roqica, Seniyasi, Moceituba 1; Cons: Seniyasi 3, Tisolo 1) defeated TONGA 8 (Tries: Fuikefu 1; Pen: Potaufa)
A convincing display from the reigning Oceania Rugby Women’s Champions Fiji saw them post a strong win in round 1 over a young outfit from Tonga. Four first half tires to the hosts and a single penalty from Tonga saw the Fiji Airways Fijiana head into the break 19 points up (22-3).
The hosts went on to post a further 23 points in the second half with last 7 coming with only 14 players on the field after the team had used the full rotation on the bench and Taga had to be helped from the with calf cramps in the final minutes of the match.
The reigning champions have put the competition on notice by setting the standard through their dominating performance at Churchill Park today.
Tonga captain Va’inga Moimoi spoke after the match and showed the pride that each team has competition at the regional event saying,
“I’m just proud of the girls and the effort they put into the match. Just this morning it was the first time for some of the girls to put on a mouthguard. I’m just really proud of the girls and proud to represent my country.”
Rusila Nagasau, Fijiana Captain said,
“I am really proud of the girls and how they’ve come through together. There were some new girls and though it’s a new gel, we are all Fijians and we can easily adapt and play together. I love creating space for the outside backs, but I also like to take every opportunity presented to me when we’re on the field (when talking about scoring a hattrick).”
2018 Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship Fixtures:
Round 1, Friday 16 November
Papua New Guinea v Samoa, 1.00pm
Fiji v Tonga, 3.30pm
Round 2, Tuesday 20 November
Samoa v Tonga, 1.00pm
Fiji v Papua New Guinea, 3.30pm
Round 3, Saturday 24 November
Papua New Guinea v Tonga, 1.00pm
Fiji v Samoa, 3.30pm
All matches will be played at Churchill Park, Lautoka FIJI
– Tickets can be purchased from the Fiji Rugby Union in Suva or at the Lautoka City Council Office
– Teams and results can be found here
– Broadcast details:
– Broadcast on Fiji Television (Delayed Coverage)
– Live Streamed on Oceania Rugby Facebook Page