Ratuniyarawa scores as Fiji defeat Samoa in Pacific Nations Cup
Monday, July 17, 2017
With 2019 Rugby World Cup qualification on the line for Samoa, three Saints went head-to-head in Apia as Samoa hosted their Fijian neighbours for the final round of the Pacific Nations Cup.
Saints teammates Ahsee Tuala, Campese Ma'afu and Api Ratuniyarawa lined up on opposite sides for the final Pacific Nations Cup match and World Cup qualification decider.
Tuala and Samoa needed at least a losing bonus point in order to draw level with Tonga on points and secure the last remaining Rugby World Cup qualification place.
Though Fiji already had qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup the previous weekend as they defeated Tonga in Nuku'alofa, Ma'afu and Ratuniyarawa's trip to Apia was not a dead rubber, with the chance to defend their Pacific Nations Cup title for the third year in a row in the offing.
Despite leading 16-14 at the break, Samoa's lead was short-lived and Fiji did not look back in the second half as they added 24 points to the scoreboard before the final whistle.
After Henry Seniloli had put a hat-trick of scores to his name and Jale Vatubua crossing the whitewash also, the final score of the game was to go to Saints' own Ratuniyarawa, however, as the lock powered over off the back of a lineout.
Ending the game, then, at 38-16 to Fiji, Samoa and Tuala fell short of qualification, Tonga, instead, just sneaking into the Oceania 2 spot.