Pacific Nations Cup: Tonga defeats Flying Fijians

Ben Volavola on attack for Fiji against Tonga at Churchill Park in Lautoka this afternoon. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THE Ikale Tahi Tonga side defeated the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians 27-19 at Churchill Park this afternoon.

The visitors opened the floodgates after hooker Paula Ngauamo completed a wave of pick and drive phases to dive over in the corner. Skipper Sonatane Takulua added the extras for Tonga to lead 7-0.

Nemani Nadolo was denied a try for losing the ball as he dived over to score after a wonderful pass from Jale Vatubua. But the Fijians surprised the big Tongan pack with a huge tight head scrum for Frank Lomani to dive over for Fiji’s first try.

Ben Volavola dissected the uprights with the conversion to level the score leaving the halftime scores 7-all.

Tonga started the second spell strong using their big forwards to bulldoze their way past the heavy traffic to score their second try through lock forward Steve Matai in the 44th minute.  Takulua added the extras as the visitors led 14-7.

Goneva replied with try but Volavola missed the conversion.

Lanky Viliame Mata outpaced the Tongan backline after winning turnover and sprinted 80metres to score a magnificent try which was converted by Volavola to take Fiji’s points to 19.

Takulua increased his team’s tally to 17 from a penalty in the 28th minute of play.

The Fijians received a huge blow when Goneva was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on allowing Takulua to score another three points taking his team on the lead 20-17.

Tonga continued the momentum as tough forward Sefo Sikilia scored another try after some breaking runs by the forward and converted by Takulua to win the game.

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