531 PI
Niu FM
PMN News

Manu Sāmoa perform the Siva Tau against Italy at Apia Park.

Photo/Manu Samoa


Sāmoa upset Italy as Fiji survive late Georgian surge

Manu Sāmoa recover from a 10-point deficit to beat the Italian Azzuri 33-25 in a sweltering test rugby match in Apia.

The international test rugby calendar continued on the weekend, with Sāmoa, Fiji, and the All Blacks in action.

Manu Sāmoa faced Italy at Apia Park under new coach Mahonri Schwalger and new captain Theo McFarland.

The Italians were favoured to win, coming off a Six Nations campaign in which they beat Wales and Scotland. But Sāmoa scored four tries to three to clinch the upset victory 33-25.

Eight Moana Pasifika players were named in the Manu Sāmoa side on Friday which included debutants Marco Fepuleai, Izaiha Moore-Aiono, Murphy Taramai, Sebastion Visinia, Lolani Faleiva, and Afa Moleli.

Sāmoa came from 10 points down to upset a near to full-strength Six Nations' Gli Azzurri side who were on a three-game unbeaten run, and close to their first-ever win in the Pacific islands. But the Azzurri wilted in the hot, humid conditions as the hosts scored the last 18 points of the game.

Samoa surged home through late tries to backs Danny Toala and Moleli, along with accurate goalkicking from flyhalf D'Angelo Leuila, who landed five of his six shots at goal for a total of 13 points.

After conceding an early try to flanker Moore-Aiono, the visitors struck twice in quick succession.

Winger Monty Ioane finished a long-range attack while Sāmoan fullback Duncan Paia’aua was in the sin-bin as fullback Matt Gallagher, the son of 1987 World Cup-winning All-Black John Gallagher broke away with Ioane in support to send in Louis Lynagh, the son of Australian rugby great Michael Lynagh.

Italy’s lead was cut to 18-12 by halftime after Sāmoa countered from an Italian knock-on near their tryline for winger Nigel Ah Wong to score.

In the second half, a Gallagher up-and-under ended with Fly-half Paolo Garbisi’s converted try for the visitors to lead 25-15. Garbisi scored a total of 15 points.

Federico Ruzza made a try-saving tackle on Stacey Ili and Alessandro Izekor stopped Samo Malolo on his way to the tryline. But the Sāmoans found a way through the Italian defence with centre Danny Toala levelling the scores with 20 minutes to go.

D’Angelo Leuila’s third penalty of the half pushed Samoa ahead in the 68th minute followed by replacement debutant Moleli securing the win for the hosts in the 77th scoring off an offload from hooker Malolo.

Sāmoa is ranked 14th in the world while Italy is in the 8th spot.

The Italians, now at 0-8 against Manu Sāmoa and the Flying Fijians on the trot, head to Tonga next week for the first time, followed by Japan in Tokyo.

The Sāmoans, who hadn’t played since failing to advance through their group at last year’s World Cup in France, will host Spain on Friday.

Fiji v Georgia

The Fijiana and Flying Fijians were both in action on Saturday against the Australian Wallaroos and Georgia, respectively.

Flying Fijians coach Mick Byrne named four debutants Kitione Salawa, Peni Dakuwaqa, and Inia Tabuavou to start while Elia Canakaivata came off the bench.

Dakuwaqa scored two tries to help his side secure a 21-12 win over Georgia in their International Rugby Test match.

Hooker Tevita Ikanivere also scored a try for the Fijians with flyhalf Vilimoni Botitu nailing two penalties from the boot.

Fiji led 13-9 at halftime. Luka Matkava scored all of Georgia’s points, kicking four penalties.

Fiji is ranked 11th while Georgia is 34th.

The Flying Fijians beat Georgia 21-12 at the Adjarabet Arena in Batumi, Georgia. Photo/AFP

Fijiana v Wallaroos

It was a gold rush of tries as the Australian women thrashed their Fijian opponents 64-5 in Sydney on Saturday night. The 10-try blitz by the Wallaroos - four to Desiree Miller - was a repeat of the Super Rugby final between both countries.

The Australians were unstoppable despite the Fijians striking first in the 12th minute with Adita Militia scoring the visitors’ only try and points.

It was a night the Fijiana would rather forget as the side was reduced to 14 early in the second half when Sulita Waisega was yellow-carded for a professional foul.

The Wallaroos’ win followed a three-match losing streak to New Zealand, Canada and the United States in the Four Nations Cup in May.

All Blacks v England

New Zealand - in their first outing under new coach Scott Robertson - edged England 16-15 in a thrilling encounter in Dunedin on Saturday night.

Damien McKenzie kicked two second-half penalties to put the hosts ahead after England led from a five-pointer to Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.

It was anyone’s game with both sides levelled 10-all at halftime 10-all. The All Blacks’ two tries came via Sevu Reece and Ardie Savea, while Maro Itoje’s try and Marcus Smith’s conversion and penalty kept the visitors in the game.

Fifth-ranked England have not won a test match in New Zealand (third-ranked) since 2003 and came close to achieving that after a great start in the second half. Feyi-Waboso’s try in the corner after some power plays gave Steve Borthwick’s men some belief that they could end their 21-year wait.

All Blacks wing Mark Telea is tackled by England's Sam Underhill at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday. Photo/AFP

But McKenzie, who missed two conversions in the first half, kicked two penalties in the second half to hand the All Blacks the win - their first since last year’s World Cup final defeat to South Africa in Paris.

McKenzie could have increased NZ’s lead but he was timed out taking a penalty.

The second test of the two-game series will be held at Eden Park on Saturday 13 July.

In other test matches played on the weekend, ninth-ranked Australia defeated 10th-ranked Wales 25-16 in Sydney as Joe Schmidt, the former Irish coach and All Blacks assistant coach, got his tenure as the Wallabies’ head coach off to a winning start.

Both teams head to Melbourne for the second test next Saturday.

World champions South Africa beat Ireland 27-20, France 28-13 Argentina, Japan XV 26-14 Māori All Blacks, Scotland 73-12 Canada, Romania 22-20 USA, Chile 22-17 Hong Kong China.

Manu Sāmoa arrive at Apia Park ahead of their test match against Italy. Photo/supplied