Fijiana lose Oceania title

Vodafone Fijiana 15s players after the team's training session at Bidesi grounds in Laucala Bay, Suva on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

The Vodafone Fijiana XVs side will play in the tier three of the World Rugby WXV after failing to defend their Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship title in the final against Samoa on the Gold Coast in Australia on Sunday.

Samoa’s Manusina XV side created history by winning the championship for the first time after edging the Fijiana XV 19-18.

Manusina will play in the tier two of the World Rugby WXV.

Trailing 13-16 to their Samoan counterparts with a few minutes to the final hooter, the Fijiana managed to score a try in the 78th minute.

Unfortunately, the Fijiana kicked the ball out after the restart thinking the final hooter had sounded, which resulted in a lineout for Samoa.

The Fijiana side was penalised at the lineout, allowing Samoa to convert a penalty kick, stealing the win from their grasp at the sound of the final hooter.

Samoa was first to put points on the scoreboard through a penalty kick, 20 minutes into the match.

The Fijiana replied with a try from outside centre Vani Arei, as they led 5-3 with 10 minutes remaining until the breather.

Fijiana received a penalty in the 40th minute, where they opted for the three points which was converted by flyhalf Luisa Tisolo, leaving the scores at 8-3 at the break.

Samoa quickly replied with a try within a few minutes of the second half, which was successfully converted to put them in the lead at 10-8.

Siteri Rasole brought her side back into the lead after crossing the Samoan tryline from a lineout five metres out.

The conversion had both sides tied at 13-all before Samoa nailed another penalty kick to take the lead.

Adita Milinia scored the Fijiana’s last try after coming off the bench, but it wasn’t enough to secure the win as Samoa managed to convert a penalty kick at the sound of the final hooter, bringing the final scores to 19-18.

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