World Cup Report: Samoa 4-22 Fiji

The World Cup semi-finals will be a repeat of the same stage at the 2008 tournament, after Fiji defeated Samoa 22-4 at Warrington.

Wes Naiqama scored a try and five goals as Rick Stone’s men picked up only their second win of the tournament, having managed to get out of a group containing Australia and England.

It means a repeat of their game against the Kangaroos a fortnight ago, when they failed to score a try in a 34-2 defeat in St Helens, as well as the semi-final of the 2008 World Cup, where the Fijians were beaten 52-0.

They made an encouraging start, and that built in to a respectable lead that Samoa just found too hard to eat in to, with Vitale Junior Roqica‘s try in the dying minutes putting the icing on the Fijian cake and booking their date at Wembley next Saturday.

Man of the match Aaron Groom got them on the board inside four minutes, taking the ball on from Akuila Uate’s break.

Uate and Fiji‘s other wingman, Marika Koroibete, posed a real threat throughout, but it was centre Wes Naiqama who tagged on the next points, taking the score to 8-0 with a penalty goal after David Fa’alogo had gone in late on Groom.

Samoa struggled to find any sort of rhythm in the opening quarter, with full-back Anthony Milford kept quiet, and they were dealt a further blow when Penani Manumalealii was forced off with an arm injury.

Their first real chance came when Uate was bundled in to touch close to his own line after catching a kick, but Milford wasted the opportunity by making a misplaced kick on just the third tackle.

Despite more pressure, the Samoans were lacking creativity, and Fiji made them pay seven minutes before half time.

The excellent Groom kicked on the last, and the ball bounced up awkwardly, deceiving the Samoan defence, and Wes Naiqama was on hand to touch down for 14-0 at the break.

The Warrington crowd, vociferous in their support of the Samoans in defeat to New Zealand three weeks ago, expected a response in the second half, but it never really came.

In fact it was Fiji who came closest to the first score of the half, as Uate broke down the middle and found Koroibete, who went on a destructive run down the left hand side before offloading to Sisi Waqa who was tackled.

Eventually, on the stroke of the hour, Samoa broke their duck, as they shifted the ball left and Antonio Winterstein squeezed in at the corner.

But that was all they could muster. Another powerful run by Koroibete got Fiji on the front foot, and after Tim Lafai had taken out Jayson Bukuya with a high shot, Wes Naiqama knocked over his second penalty to put Fiji 16-4 to the good.

Time dwindled away, and Fiji rubbed salt in the wound as Roqica crashed over on 79 minutes, taking a smart offload from Koroisau after he had broke through in midfield.

Fiji will now take on Australia at Wembley, after England face New Zealand in the semi-final double header on Saturday.

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Samoa: Milford, A Winterstein, Lafai, Leilua, Vidot, Manumalealii, Roberts, Fa’alogo, Sio, Matagi, Soliola, Puletua, Sue. Interchanges: Sio, Moors, Taufua, Masoe.

Scorers: Tries – A Winterstein (59) Goals – Milford 0/1

Fiji: K Naiqama, Koroibete, Waqa, W Naiqama, Uate, D Millard, Groom, A Sims, Storer, Civoniceva, T Sims, Bukuya, Vunakece. Interchanges: Koroisau, Roqica, Evans, Radradra.

Scorers: Tries – Groom (4), W Naiqama (33), Roqica (79) Goals – W Naiqama 5/5

Half time: 0-14

Referee: Richard Silverwood

Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington

Attendance: 12,766

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