Fiji & Samoa confirmed for WXV3

Fijiana and Samoa have set up a winner-takes-all title decider after winning their second round matches in the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship at Sunnybank Rugby Club in Brisbane, Australia, on Wednesday.

Published by World Rugby, May 29th, 2024

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Fiji & Samoa confirmed for WXV3

Having beaten Tonga 48-3 in round one, Fijiana registered their second bonus-point win of the competition with an emphatic 85-6 victory against a new-look Papua New Guinea team that included 10 debutants.

Reigning champions Samoa, meanwhile, began their title defence with a 29-7 win against Tonga. Samoa had been awarded four competition points after their scheduled opening match against Papua New Guinea was cancelled because the Cassowaries were unable to travel due to logistical issues.

Wednesday’s results leave three-time champions Fijiana on the top of the standings on 10 points with Samoa one point behind in second leading into the final round on Sunday.

As they are guaranteed a top-two finish, both teams will take their place in WXV 3 2024 in Dubai later this year, joining the Netherlands and Madagascar in the six-team event.

Tonga take on Papua New Guinea for third place at 14:00 local time (GMT+10) before the competition’s two standout teams compete for the trophy at 16:00.

If it is anything like last year’s finale, a 19-18 win for Manusina, a thrilling spectacle awaits fans with tickets and those watching further afield on RugbyPass TV.

The Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship 2024 winners will become the ninth team to qualify for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 in England.

FIJI 85-6 PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Outside-centre Atelaite Buna equalled the Fijiana individual record for most tries in a match after touching down four times in her side’s comprehensive 85-6 win over Papua New Guinea.

Fijiana ran in 13 tries in total, 10 of which were converted by their record points scorer Luisa Tisolo.

With Fijiana using their powerful maul and scrum as a platform to play from, Buna and the rest of the backs had plenty of good ball to show their running and handling skills and, for the most part, they executed the chances that came their way well.

Fijiana scored a point a minute in the first half with Merewai Cumu’s opening effort swiftly followed by a score from the back of the scrum, number eight and captain Karalaini Naisewa rampaging over from 20 metres out.

Buna, Iris Verebalavu and Asinate Serevi – the daughter of Fijian legend Waisale – then took Fiji past 30 points before Naisewa grabbed her second, Tisolo converting for a fifth time.

Joanne Lagona gave Papua New Guinea a much-needed lift on the stroke of half-time when she kicked a straightforward penalty.

Lagona kicked another three-pointer not long after the restart but by then Buna was already on her way to equalling the record jointly held by Adita Milinia, Reapi Ulunisau and Ilisapeci Delaiwau.

Buna’s pace and presence of mind to be in the right place at the right time was evident throughout as she crossed three times in 13 minutes to move onto four tries.

Wingers Merewairita Neivosa and debutant Repeka Tove then joined in the fun before Adita Milinia came off the bench and showed her class by running in try number 12.

Athletic forward Sulita Waisega then got the try her impressive display from the bench deserved when she bamboozled the try-line defender with a swivel of the hips and a quick step having received the ball five metres out form another dominant scrum.

SAMOA 29-7 TONGA

Samoa managed the game brilliantly in the second half to keep Tonga scoreless despite playing with 14 players.

On a day when the captains were in the thick of the action in both matches, Manusina's inspirational leader Sui Pauaraisa scored twice before blotting her copybook with a red card four minutes before the break.

However, Tonga were unable to make their numerical advantage count and Manusina did enough to keep their opponents at bay and maintain their 100 per cent record in the fixture.

It only took two minutes for Manusina to score the first points of the match, Pauaraisa peeling away from a maul to score down the blindside.

Fly-half Cassie Siataga added the extra two points and did so again when winger Lutia Col Auma was on the receiving end of a chain of passes that involved both props, Denise Aiolupotea and Angel Schwencke.

Schwencke was sin-binned not long after and just before she returned to the field, Tonga were gifted a route back into the match when Vineta Teutau crashed over after Siataga had her clearance kicked charged down.

However, the two-score difference was restored when Pauaraisa ripped the ball in the tackle and muscled her way over on the half-hour mark, Siataga converting to make it 21-7.

Siataga's day then took a turn for the worst, as did the weather, when she stopped Tonga full-back Cheyanne Takau in her tracks on halfway as she returned a kick from deep. After taking a second look at the incident, referee Lavenia Racaca decided the no-arms-tackle merited a red card.

Shonte To'a then missed a chance to peg the score back to 21-10 after missing a penalty attempt on the stroke of half-time.

Manusina breathed a sigh of relief when blindside flanker Nina Foaese's tackle at the start of the second half came under close inspection but Racaca called 'penalty only' and the match remained at 15 v 14.

Approaching an hour gone, Siataga kicked a penalty to extend Samoa's lead. She had pushed her first attempt wide but Racaca ordered the kick to be retaken after a Tonga player had shouted in the build-up and this time, the fly-half made no mistake.

From that point on, Tonga never really looked like getting back into the game and Samoa bagged the try bonus point when replacement forward France Bloomfield crashed over.

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