Lote Tuqiri’s Fiji side has gone down to Samoa by 32-16 at Penrith tonight (Saturday) with the dual-international scoring a try and bagging two conversions.
Samoa booked their place in the end of year Four Nations tournament with the victory in a quality match that saw a number of well-orchestrated four-pointers, but also the return of legend Petero Civoniceva to the field for a cameo.
Samoa opened the scoring through halfback Penani Manumaleali'i, who danced through the Fijian line to cross under the sticks, getting the ball rolling for the men in blue.
The Fijians would hit straight back though through flying fullback Kevin Naiqama. The Fijian raced through to plant the ball down adjacent to the sticks before Tuqiri slotted the first of his two goals of the night.
Fiji’s James Storer backed up the effort not long afterward with a sneaky try from dummy-half to take the lead 12-6 with Tuqiri’s second conversion.
But Tuqiri’s best was yet to come – the dual international jinking before putting his head down and scoring from close range to extend the Bati’s lead.
Samoa stayed composed though, with Manumaleali’I again causing trouble just before the break to cross for his second of the evening to send the teams into the sheds with the Bati leading 16-12.
Manumaleali'i continued his form three minutes into the second half by racing in again from dummy-half to notch up a hat-trick on the back of some sleepy Fiji defence.
A penalty to Samoa allowed Krisnan Inu to kick his side to a 20-16 lead, before Carlos Tuimavave showed good hands to score a try of his own to put Samoa in the driver’s seat.
Daniel Vidot put the result beyond doubt with his four-pointer to bring the final score to 32-16, booking Samoa’s place in the Four Nations with Australia, New Zealand and England at the end of the season.
Samoa 32 (Penani Manumaleali'i 3, Carlos Tuimavave, Daniel Vidot tries; Krisnan Inu 5 goals)
Fiji 16 (Kevin Naiqama, James Storer, Lote Tuqiri tries; Lote Tuqiri 2 goals)