Samoa snatch Pacific Nations title
June 27, 2010
Mikaele Pesamino scored one of Samoa's five tries © Getty Images
Samoa bounced back from their shock loss to Japan by defeating Fiji 31-9 in Apia to clinch the Pacific Nations Cup title.
The bonus-point win lifted the hosts level on points with their opponents in the final standings, with the title heading to Samoa thanks to their superior points difference.
Replacement Alafoti Faosiliva scored the vital bonus-point try as part of his brace while Mikaele Pesamino, who starred as Samoa won this year's IRB Sevens World Series, also weighed in with a solo effort.
"Attitude. That was the difference today. We gave it everything we had," Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger said told AFP. "The boys were playing in front of their people, they were playing for their country and there was no way we were going to end like we did last week."
Japan finished the tournament on a high with their second victory, defeating Tonga 26-23 thanks to a last-minute penalty try. John Kirwan's Japan required a bonus-point win to stand any chance of winning the title for the first time but were unable to break clear from a gallant Tongan side who have endured rotten luck throughout the tournament, losing 24-23 to Samoa and 41-38 to Fiji.
Prop Kensuke Hatakeyama scored Japan's first try in response to William Helu's opener, with Alipate Fatafehi also crossing for the Tongans as fly-halves Kurt Morath and James Arlidge engaged in a kicking duel prior to the Japanese scrum wringing the winning points out of the referee.
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
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin