Pacific Rugby Cup makes its debut
Sunday April 16 2006
Celebrations in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga
The inaugural IRB Pacific Rugby Cup made its debut at the weekend with wins for Fiji Warriors, Sevaii Samoa and Tautahi Gold of Tonga - results that ensure that opening honours are even for the three competing nations.
The new competition involves representative teams from the three 'Tier Two' unions in the Pacific - Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
The competition will provide an opportunity for around 60 locally-based players in each of the three countries to test their abilities in a new international arena.
The newly created teams are Fiji Warriors and Fiji Barbarians from Fiji; Upolu Samoa and Savaii Samoa from Samoa; and Tau'uta Reds and Tautahi Gold from Tonga.
The teams will compete on a home and away basis culminating in a Grand Final between the first and second-placed teams in the final standings.
Fiji Warriors 22-14 Fiji Barbarians
Fiji Warriors top the Round One table after recording a 22-14 victory over Fiji Barbarians in front of 2,000 supporters at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nasori, on Saturday.
The Warriors led throughout an exciting encounter that yielded five tries, but were pushed every step of the way by a Barbarians side that should have made the most of the many opportunities created.
Wame Lewaravu, Apisai Nagi and Mosese Luveitasau scored tries for the Warriors, but a fourth bonus point score was not forthcoming as the Barbarians hit back through Seveci Taka and Vima Tuidraki.
Tau'uta Reds 13-18 Sevaii Samoa
Sevaii Samoa lie second after a thrilling 18-13 victory over Tongan side Tau'uta Reds at Teufaiva Stadium on Saturday.Â
Despite difficult conditions, some 3,000 supporters braved the elements to see the visitors edge a match which they led 15-0 at the interval.
The heavens opened 30 minutes before kick off, but the rain did not prevent either side from playing enterprising, attacking rugby.
Tries by Iosefa Faaiu and Rudy Leaeasa helped Sevaii Samoa to a 15-0 lead at half time, but the home side, encouraged by a vociferous support, rallied to secure a losing bonus point, after tries by Kosilio Tongauiha and Tevita Tanginoa set up a thrilling climax.
Upolu Samoa 18-20 Tautahi Gold
In the final match of the weekend, Tonga's Tautahi Gold recorded a 20-18 victory over Upolu Samoa the Marist Grounds in Apia, Samoa, on Saturday.
Tautahi'a scores came from two tries, one each for Fangatapu 'Apikotoa and Mosese Manu, whilst 'Apikotoa was also successful with two conversions, a penalty and a drop-goal.
IRB Pacific Rugby Advisory Chairman Bob Tuckey was extremely encouraged by the action on the first weekend.
"The thrilling start to the tournament, the close results and the response of rugby supporters in each of the three countries marks an exciting new era for rugby union in the Pacific," he said.
Round Two fixtures - April 22:
Fiji Barbarians v Tau'uta Reds - Prince Charles Park, Nadi
Upolu Samoa v Fiji Warriors - Marist Grounds, Apia
Tautahi Gold v Savaii Samoa - Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa