It was nothing short of a grand final as Tonga and Samoa took to the field for the second match of the Oceania Rugby U20s Trophy at the Marist St Joseph Park in Samoa’s capital Apia.
The encounter was a brutal one, and bodies were put on the line for a place at the 2019 World Rugby U20s Trophy in Brazil.
It wasn’t a walk in the park for the visiting Tongans as the Samoa U20s led convincingly in the first half in front of a local home crowd.
However the Manu Samoa U20s failed to convert their tries and that resulted in the close margin come half-time.
At the half, Samoa scored three unconverted tries to Tonga’s two converted tries (Samoa 15 – 14 Tonga).
Come the second half, the Tongan pack increased their tally with one try (converted), one penalty goal and an added drop-goal from Hateni Tafolo who was having a perfect day with the boot.
Manu Samoa scored another two unconverted tries in the second half, but struggled with possession and territory, finding themselves on the back-foot from the pressure of the ferocious Tongan defense.
Manu Samoa U20s Captain Simon Peter Toleafoa said his team had been playing on the wrong end of the field and they didn’t really focus on gaining territory during the match.
“There were errors and just little things went against us. We did try and work on things from the first game but I guess it was not a complete performance,” Toleafoa added.
“The Tongans were content and we didn’t apply the pressure. They were playing on the right ends,” he said when asked about Tonga’s performance.
“For us it was the forward pack that did their best, but I guess the backs were my fault because I didn’t direct,” Toleafoa remarked.
Tonga U20s Captain Pita Halaifonua said he was very happy with their win today.
“I am so proud of the boys performance and I also want to thank the Samoan team for giving us a good game,” Halaifonu said.
Following today’s results, the Tonga Rugby Union U20s team is now the Oceania Rugby Under 20s Trophy winners and will also now advance to next year’s World Rugby Under 20s Trophy in Brazil.
SAMOA 20 (Tries: P.Fuiono (2), P.Ah See, P.Pati; Yellow Card: A.Onolei)
TONGA 27 (Tries: L.Folau (2), L. Iinisi; Conversions: H. Tafolo (3); Penalty Goal: H. Tafolo; Drop Goal: H. Tafolo; Yellow Card: S.Fale, T.Ma'afu; Red Card: L.Folau)