Fiji U20 qualifies for World Championships

The Fiji U20 side is through to next year's World Championships after thumping Samoa 58-8 in the final of the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Romania today. Picture: WORLD RUGBY

THE Fiji U20 side is through to next year’s World Championships after thumping Samoa 58-8 in the final of the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Romania today.

Inspired by full-back Nabetelevu Turaganivalu and centres Vilimoni Botitu and Ilikena Vudogo, Fiji were irrepressible in attack as they ruthlessly capitalised on basic Samoan errors, of which there were many, to put the two-time champions to the sword.

Turaganivalu set up Botitu for the first and then scored himself, after hitting a great line from deep, as Fiji racked up a 14-0 lead despite playing with 14 men.

The long-striding Turaganivalu added a penalty to his two conversions before Samoa finally got on the scoreboard when Simon Toleafoa punished a Fijian high tackle with three points from the kicking tee.

With five minutes of the half to go, Ratu Meli Turagaca squeezed over in the corner to make Samoa’s task that much harder and atone for his earlier yellow card.

Scrum-half Simione Kuruvoli sniped over from close range to make the score 34-3 before Viliame Rokobuli used his power to bump off three would-be defenders on his way to the line.

Fellow winger Tira Patterson then spent 10 minutes on the sidelines for another high tackle but, still, Samoa could not find a way through.

A brilliant solo effort from Vudogo added to Samoa’s woes but they did get a consolation five minutes from time when back-row Anthony Shammah-Solomona, one of their brightest performers on the day, charged down the right flank and forced his way over.

However, the final say deservedly belonged to Fiji when Vudogo brilliantly claimed the restart to set up flanker Ratu Meli, and there was still time for replacement Joseph Mar to cross over unopposed.

Fiji qualified to the U20 Championship for the first time this year since 2014.

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