Fiji Warriors win against Samoa A
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.