Fiji wins Pacific Nations Cup 2017

Samoa captain David Lemi and Fiji's Akapusi Qera pose with the Webb Ellis Cup ahead of Saturday's Pacific Nations Cup decider which doubles as a World Cup qualifier

Samoa captain David Lemi and Fiji's Akapusi Qera pose with the Webb Ellis Cup ahead of Saturday's Pacific Nations Cup decider which doubles as a World Cup qualifier

Tonga have qualified for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan after finishing second to Fiji in the combined 2016-17 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup standings.

Tonga will be playing in its seventh straight World Cup and its eighth overall. But Samoa needed at least a bonus point in defeat to prevent Tonga claiming the second automatic qualifying place from Oceania.

A try by replacement lock Api Ratuniyarawa sealed the victory in the 75th minute.

Samoa, who have competed in every Rugby World Cup since 1991, now face a repechage match against the victor of Czech Republic or Portugal versus the second-place team in the 2018 Rugby Europe Championship.

Fiji will play in Pool D at the World Cup with Australia, Wales, Georgia and either Canada or Uruguay.

Fiji's win Saturday continued an outstanding run of form in June and July internationals in which they have beaten Scotland and Italy and stayed unbeaten in the Pacific Nations Cup. Once again Samoa pressed and the pressure caused ill-discipline from Fiji, allowing fly-half Pisi to kick three penalties to give the hosts a slender 16-14 lead at the break.

After Samoa, it is planned to roll out the programme in Fiji, the Cook Islands and Tonga.

Two of the three unanswered tries in the second half were scored when the Fijians used quick passing out wide to outplay the Samoa defence.

Inside centre Jale Vatubua also scored a try.

Seniloli scored his second when winger Vereniki Goneva made a break down the right flank. "I'd like to congratulate Fiji for their win in the PNC", Lemi said. This is a talented group and we have some younger talent emerging also.

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