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Samoans outpoint Fijians

Lameli Rakoko
Sunday, June 22, 2014

A combination of indiscipline, first half line-out losses and wrong decision making cost Fiji a 13-18 loss to Samoa in Pacific Nations Cup rugby competition at the ANZ Stadium yesterday.

A heavy penalty count saw Samoa's fly half Tusi Pisi land six penalties and put pressure on Fiji in crucial moments.

From the first half Samoa showed an early dominance in the scrums but Fiji was able to steal some scrum balls back as well as steal five line-out balls.

But Samoa also took five line-out balls as the they were determined from kick-off to disrupt Fiji's momentum.

Only in the final quarter was Fiji able to maintain their throws in the line-outs.

Also in the final quarter Fiji opted to go for the line-outs or run the ball from kickable penalties which would have turned the loss into victory.

It is a gamble every skipper has to make whether to pile up the points from penalties and hope to get more before time runs out or go for the five-pointer and conversion.

In the end the Samoan defence held and on a couple of occasions Fiji lost the ball or was penalised inches from the tryline.

Pisi kicked his first penalty before Fiji's second five-eight Nemani Nadolo opened Fiji's account with a try after a pickup from a ruck.

Then Pisi landed four penalties from the 19th minute, 24th, 28th and 40th minutes as the visitors led 15-5 at halftime.

Fiji went in hard in the opening minutes of the second half with a try from Napolioni Nalaga and a penalty from near halfway by Nadolo taking Fiji to 12-15 in the first fifteen minutes .

In the second-half Fiji players suffered from over eagerness and failed to kick points and in the end they were staring at defeat as the Samoans retained the ball until the final whistle.

Halfback Nikola Matawalu made many good attacking moves and in the end fumbled because the Samoans had anticipated his every move.

The backline tried to run the ball at every opportunity and send the ball quickly to the wingers and without any line-break attempts in the middle it became one-dimensional attack.

Coach John McKee has a lot of work to do before next Saturday's world cup qualifying game against Cook Islands and they have roped in every top player around the globe to try and beat Fiji .

Skipper David Lemi was contained well by his opposite Nalaga and the bright side of yesterday's game was that Fiji scored two tries while the Samoans did not score any.

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