The Fiji Warriors retained the Pacific Rugby Cup title in style yesterday at Teufaiva Stadium when they defeated Tonga A 25-16 in the last match of the series.
Three tries were scored by the Warriors as they defied the odds to win in front of His Majesty King Tupou VI, who was present among the 8000 crowd who turned up to watch the close battle.
Captain Leone Nakarawa said it was a tough battle but they had come prepared.
"We were told that Tonga will be tough playing in front of the king and they were strong," he said. "But we came prepared and I am thankful to the players for sticking to the game. We started off bad but we picked up."
Nakarawa, who is in line to tour with the Flying Fijians next month to Europe, said they stuck to the game plan and defended well.
Wingers Maikeli Mocetadra and Manueli Gade got first half tries before replacement number eight Nemani Nagusa bulldozed his way through the Tongan defence to score the third.
About 200 Fijians turned up to watch the game.
And the shouts of 'go Fiji go' echoed around the stadium.
On the field it was left to the tough guys to lay the platform.
Nakarawa led by example and was aided well by Isireli Ledua and Ilimotasi Nawalu.
Ratu Seru Cakobau had a good game with his throws and halfback Jack Luita linked well from the forwards to the backs.
Flyhalf Kolinio Vunaki scored 10 points through his boots.
Tonga struggled to find their rhythm but managed to gain some ground midway into the second half.
But towards the end of the game they fizzled out again as the Warriors defence held. Tonga A assistant coach Isi Fatani said the Warriors were the better side.
"They played well together and they were better today.
"I congratulate them for the win," Fatani said.
Fijian Josateki Veikune, who played for the Tonga A side, said the game was tough.
"It was tough for me playing against my own people and they really were tough on the field," he said.
"I also congratulate our local side for the good game."
King Tupou VI presented the winner's trophy to Nakarawa after the game.
The team returns home tonight.