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Flying Fijians down Samoa in Apia

By Ian Cameron
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 20: Tevita Ikanivere of Fiji Drua is pictured during the round 13 Super Rugby Pacific match between NSW Waratahs and Fijian Drua at Allianz Stadium, on May 20, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

The Flying Fijians recorded an impressive 33-19 victory over Samoa in Apia. The Fijians dominated the first half, scoring all four of their tries in the opening 30 minutes to take a commanding 30-5 lead at halftime.

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Hooker Tevita Ikanivere scored two tries in quick succession, while Iosefo Masi, making his Test debut, also crossed the try line after a brilliant assist from the experienced Semi Radradra. The best try of the match came from Selestino Ravutaumada, who finished off a stunning 90-meter effort initiated by Kalaveti Ravouvou.

Samoa, coming off a thrilling 24-22 upset win against Japan, struggled to contain Fiji’s early onslaught. Their lone first-half try came from fly-half and former Wallabies international, Christian Leali’ifano.

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In the second half, Samoa put up a stronger fight and managed to score two tries through Tumua Manu and Fritz Lee. However, Fiji’s Caleb Muntz kept them at bay with his accurate kicking, scoring a total of 13 points from the boot.

Next weekend will see Samoa host Tonga, while Fiji will travel to Japan.

Scorers:

For Samoa:
Tries: Leali’ifano, Manu, Lee
Cons: Leali’ifano 2

For Fiji:
Tries: Ikanivere 2, Masi, Ravutaumada
Cons: Muntz 2
Pens: Muntz 3

Teams:

Samoa: 15 Danny Toala 14 Nigel Ah Wong, 13 Stacey Ili, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Tumua Manu, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Ereatara Enari, 8 Fritz Lee (captain), 7 Jack Lam, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Taleni Seu, 4 Chris Vui, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Ray Niuia, 1 Jordan Lay
Replacements: 16 Sama Malolo, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Brian Alainu’u’ese, 20 Genesis Mamea-Lemalu 21 Melani Matavao, 22 Alai D’Angelo Leuila, 23 Ed Fidow

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Fiji: 15 Ilaisa Droasese, 14 Selestino Ravutaumada, 13 Iosefo Masi, 12 Semi Radradra (captain), 11 Kalaveti Ravouvou, 10 Caleb Muntz, 9 Simione Kuruvoli, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Vilive Miramira, 6 Meli Derenalagi, 5 Isoa Nasilasila, 4 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 3 Luke Tagi, 2 Tevita Ikanivere, 1 Eroni Mawi
Replacements: 16 Zuriel Togiatama, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Samu Tawake, 19 Joseva Tamani, 20 Kitione Kamikamica, 21 Peni Matawalu, 22 Vilimoni Botitu, 23 Josua Tuisova

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: James Doleman (New Zealand), Matthew Kellahan (Australia)

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J
Jon 1 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

> it was apparent Robertson was worried about his lack of experience at half-back, hence the decision to start veteran TJ Perenara and put Finlay Christie, the next most experienced number nine, on the bench. I don’t think it was this at all. It was a general scope he was putting over all the playerbase, he went with this cohesion factor in every position. > If the main priority is to build different tactical elements to the gameplan, then Ratima is the man in whom Robertson needs to trust and promote. This also I think is antagonist towards the reference game plans. The other plans do not need the speed of which Perenara (atleast) can’t provide, and I think personal is going to be the main point of difference between these games/opponents. That is the aspect of which I think most people will struggle to grasp, a horses for course selection policy over the typical ‘Top All Black 15’. That best 15 group of players is going to have to get broken down into categories. So it test one we saw Christie control the game to nullify the English threats out of existence and grind to a win. In test two we saw Ratima need to come on which dictated that this time they would run them off their feet with speed and the space did open up and the victory did come. Horses for courses. The same concepts are going to exist for every group, front row, lock and loose forward balance, midfield, and outside backs all can have positional changes that the players may be asked to accentualize on and develop. There might be some that _it_ will not ever click for, but they’ll hopefully still be getting to enjoy unbelievable comeback victories and late game shutouts to close it down. Knowing does not mean not enjoying.

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