Fiji sinks Toa Samoa at Oceania Cup
The Toa Samoa were humiliated 18-44 by Fiji in their second and final match of the Oceania Cup on Saturday afternoon at Eden Park.
Hopes were high that Samoa could come out on top given their good form at the Rugby League World Cup 9s a fortnight ago.
But it wasn’t to be as Fiji dominated start to finish, denying Samoa an Oceania Shield win as well as a place in the competition’s first tier for 2020.
Debutant Ronaldo Mulitalo immediately put his country on the backfoot by dropping Fiji’s kick at the end of their first attacking set.
Eventually the Bati made that field position pay as they scored a try through hooker Joe Lovodua in the sixth minute, giving them a 6-0 lead after the conversion.
D’Rhys Miller doubled the lead soon after as Fiji went all the way up the field from kickoff.
Fiji had their third try in 16 minutes after a couple of poor sets from the Toa, with Viliame Kikau scoring this time.
And Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu crossed for Fiji’s fourth try a mere six minutes later, smashing through two defenders to make it 24-0.
The Toa finally got some field position after a penalty though, and after a good carry from Martin Taupau, Jarome Luai set up Timoteo Lafai to score Samoa’s first points in the 27th minute.
More poor ball use and set completion gave Fiji one more opportunity before the end of the half and they made no mistake.
Kikau went in for his second, reversing the angle with his run to catch the Toa out and restore Fiji’s 24 point lead.
Samoa managed to maintain parity for the first 10 minutes after the break, before Toa wing Jorge Taufua scored to give some hope of a comeback.
But Fiji replied immediately to quash those dreams, a simple handling error giving the Bati field position which Isaac Lumelume capitalised on to score their fifth try in the 53rd minute.
They scored again ten minutes later through Brayden Williame, increasing the lead to 28 points.
And another dropped catch from Mulitalo just 10 metres from his own line put Fiji in prime position for their eighth try.
It was captain Kevin Naiqama who went through some poor Samoa defence to score in the 67th minute.
There was time for two consolation tries to Taufua and Mulitalo in the dying minutes, but the Toa never got close to their Pacific rivals in this one
Toa Samoa 18 (Lafai, Taufua 2, Mulitalo tries; Lafai 1/4 cons)
Fiji Bati 44 (Lovodua, Miller, Kikau 2, Ratuvakacereivalu, Lumelume, Wiliame, Naiqama tries; Wakeham 5/6 cons, Mocoidreke 1/2 cons)