Old adversaries set for historic showdown
September 22, 2011
Fiji fly-half Nicky Little has scored more points in this fixture than any other player © Getty Images
Two sides with a rivalry spanning 87 years collide in the Rugby World Cup for the first time as Fiji tackle Samoa in Auckland on Sunday.
These two proud rugby-playing nations met for the first time at Apia Park in August 1924, with Fiji prevailing 6-0 on the day.
The pair squared off at the same venue again the following month and this time it was the Samoans who came out on top, 9-3. However, they would not manage another win over their South Sea rivals until 1982, when they triumphed 10-8 in Suva.
The balance of power has repeatedly shifted since then, with Fiji going undefeated in the fixture for six years before going down 32-13 in Apia in 1989, a result which sparked a spell of Samoans dominance as they reeled off a further four consecutive wins in the fixture over the course of the next four years.
Over the past decade there has been very little to choose between the two, with home advantage often proving decisive. Indeed, in their last ten meetings only once has the away side on the day come away with the win.
Given that this weekend's game is on neutral territory, it would be unwise to predict anything other than a close contest. However, Fiji might feel that in Nicky Little they might have the trump card, the veteran fly-half, who has been recalled for the game in Auckland, having scored more points than any other player (106) in this particular fixture.
Fiji v Samoa All-time record: Played: 44, Fiji won 25, Samoa won 17, drawn 2
Biggest winning margin: Fiji: 60, 60-0 at Suva, 1996; Samoa: 24, 27-3 at Apia, 1993
Highest score: Fiji: 60 (60-0) at Suva, 1996; Samoa: 40 (40-23) at Apia, 1991
Most tries: Fiji: 12 (42-3) at Suva, 1963; Samoa: 5 (30-17) at Nausori, 1990; (40-23) at Apia, 1991; (35-17) at Apia, 1995; (27-15) at Lautoka, 1999; (36-27) at Suva, 2001
Longest winning sequence: Fiji: 6 (1928-1982); Samoa: 5 (1989-1994)
Most points (individual): Fiji: Nicky Little, 106; Samoa: Taufusi Salesa, 42
Most tries (individual): Fiji: 5 Norman Ligairi and Eremasi Lovodua; Samoa: 7 Brian Lima
Most points in a Test: Fij: 23 Nicky Little at Tokyo, 2001; Samoa: 21 To'o Vaega at Apia, 1994 and Roger Warren at Apia, 2005
Previous Rugby World Cup meetings:: None
Click here for Fiji's Test record courtesy of Statsguru
Click Here for Samoa's full Test record courtesy of Statsguru
Click here for a record of all Fiji v Samoa matches courtesy of Statsguru
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown