World Rugby U20 Trophy: Samoa & Fiji make statement in Opening Round

Oceania Rugby, Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:18PM

(Source: World Rugby)

Top seeds Samoa, and Fiji off to winning starts at the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2018 in Bucharest, Romania.


Fiji broke the 50-point barrier and enjoyed themselves on day one, running in nine tries to beat 2008 champions Uruguay 55-34 at the Stadionul National Arcul De Triumf, on the opening day of the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2018 in Bucharest, as Samoa also secured an opening round victory.


Samoa have never tasted defeat at this Trophy level, and a seven-minute first-half hat-trick from centre Frank Tato ensured that proud record remains intact.






Samoa have won every World Rugby U20 Trophy match they have played, winning the tournament in 2011 and 2016, but they were made to work harder than the scoreline suggests in securing their ninth successive victory at this level.


Winger Taunuu Niulevaea spurned a 10th-minute opportunity to give Laauli Rudy Leavasa's side the lead from the kicking tee, and although the opening quarter was played almost exclusively in the Hong Kong 22, the game remained scoreless.


That was until Niulevaea drew two defenders before passing inside for Tato to score 15 minutes before half-time. Having held out for so long the Hong Kong resistance crumbled and when Tato completed his hat-trick seven minutes later, Samoa led 17-0.


Hong Kong fly-half Paul Altier then missed a penalty of his own, before hooker Callum Tam cut the deficit with an unconverted try just over four minutes before the break.


Hopes of a comeback for the Asian side appeared over, though, when Samoa second-row Wesley Patu crossed in the left corner less than two minutes into the second half.


Hong Kong rallied, however, and Tam’s second try of the match, followed shortly afterwards by an Altier penalty, drew them within nine points.


Unfortunately for Stephen Dowse’s side it was as close as they got. Just before the hour mark, Samoa captain Simon Toleafoa made the game safe with his side’s fifth try.


Replacement Hong Kong scrum-half Sam Down did score to give his side a glimmer of hope with 15 minutes left, but Toleafoa and Fomai Fomai both touched down in the closing stages to add gloss to Samoa’s win.




Fiji outscored Uruguay nine tries to five as they kicked off their World Rugby U20 Trophy campaign with an entertaining victory in stark contrast to their match at the World Rugby U20 Trophy 2017 which Fiji lost 3-34.


Uruguay have strong pedigree at this level and the South Americans began brightly, but Juan Nicola’s profligacy with the boot meant they only led by five points following Manuel Ardao’s early try.


The misses proved costly as tries from Saimoni Uluinakauvadra and Ilekena Vudogo – either side of another wayward penalty, this time from Matias D’Avanzo – gave Fiji the lead.


Uruguay edged back in front as Ardao scored his second try but once Ratu Meli Turagaca crossed for Fiji on the stroke of half-time the Pacific Islanders never relinquished the lead.


Uluinakauvadra stretched Fiji’s advantage as he touched down for a second time less than two minutes after the restart, and following a Juan Cattivelli penalty for Uruguay, Caleb Muntz danced over for Fiji’s fifth try of the match.


Uruguay did pull within seven points as replacement hooker Nicolas Buysan crashed over, but two tries in as many minutes killed the contest. First winger Viliame Suwawa touched down in the left corner before Ratu Meli Derenalagi finished off a length-of-the-field, try-of-the-tournament contender within a minute of the restart.


The two sides traded a brace of tries in the final quarter as Mateo Vinals and Maxine Sonneveld scored either side of Turagaca’s second of the match. Lekima Nasamila then rounded off the scoring in stoppage time as his converted try took Fiji passed the 50-point mark.




Pool B: Portugal 31 – 29 Canada

Pool A: Namibia 55 – 26 Romania



Last updated: Thursday August 30, 2018 2:32PM