Flying Fijians: Radradra in

Semi Radradra. Picture: WORLD RUGBY

FIJI’S reinforcement for the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup arrives today in camp in the form of star Semi the “Trailer”Radradra.

This was confirmed by Fiji Airways Flying Fijians coach John McKee after his team pipped Manu Samoa 24-22 at the ANZ Stadium in Suva yesterday.

The hosts and champions had one foot on the victory dais with their fourth try from vice-captain Vereniki Goneva 10 minutes after halftime.

The Nadi native and former Fiji 7s skipper showed the class that won him the Aviva Premiership Player of the 2018 title when he dashed solo from the 22 metre line, got tackled by two oppositions an arm’s length from the tryline and rolled over to record Fiji’s bonus point win.

The Flying Fijians had the match in the bag with three successive tries in the first half. The first from an unmarked fullback Kini Murimurivalu after Goneva sucked in the defence on the embankment side in the 25th minute. Fiji 5-3 Samoa. The visitors had landed a penalty in the 22nd minute.

In the 28th minute Fijian skipper Akapusi Qera was sent to the bin for a late tackle. It looked unintentional.

Four minutes later flyhalf Ben Volavola, who mastered play tactically with his touch finders and calculated passes, squeezed past the Samoa defence and scooted down 23 metres for Fiji’s second try. He failed to convert. Fiji 10-3 Samoa.

Then nippy halfback Henry Seniloli was at the reciving end of another Leone ‘Octopus’ Nakarawa off-load in the 38th minute to see Fiji 17-3 comfortably at the break.

Samoa, could not match the fiery and fast Fijians, so they changed to forward play and closed the game to keep possession.

They gained metres and ran in three late tries — 59th minute to halfback Metani Matavao for Fiji 24-10, 67th minute to Jack Lam for Fiji 24-15 Samoa, and 78th minute to sub Dawyne Polotaivao for Fiji 24-22 Samoa.

Samoa coach Fuimaono Titi Tafua said the loss placed them in a tight spot against Georgia next week.

“We had a lot of mistakes, but we have learned from the loss,” he said.

His skipper Chris Vui said: “The game had a lot of character and we did not show the character we wanted to show.

“We had discipline, but dropping the ball and the basics cost us the game. We could not get the momentum and we need to improve next week.”

Fiji coach John McKee thanked his players because it was their first match together after seven months.

Most of the Fijian players are overseas-based.

Meanwhile, Georgia beat Tonga 16-15.