Pacific Test Wrap: Samoa, PNG record wins
With a total of five Sharks in action at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday night, Samoa proved a touch too strong for their Tongan counterparts, while Papua New Guinea fought off a brave Fijian side to score a rare Test win.
The Pacific Tests were an exhibition of pure League talent – and while far from error free – the excitement and entertainment shared by players and spectators alike ensured the night will be one not forgotten.
Sharks hooker-half Nu Brown was a stand out performer for Samoa in the side’s win over Tonga. With the number 6 on his back, Brown played role in two of the side’s three tries, while also kicking three goals from four attempts on the night.
Brown’s pin-point bomb for Antonio Winterstein’s opening try set the Samoans on their way, albeit a response to the game’s first four-pointer scored courtesy of Tonga’s Mosese Pangai.
Brown's opening conversion sailed straight between the posts, as the Samoans levelled the scores at 6-apiece inside the opening 15 minutes played.
The young pivot later sent fellow Shark Ricky Leutele over to score in the 55th minute, and again he nailed the conversion from wide out with relative ease.
Leutele, along with fellow Shark Sam Tagataese was impressive on the night, as Tongan representative David Fifita showed his wares despite having limited chances from his side’s interchange bench.
SAMOA – 18
(Tries: Winterstein, Leutele | Brown (Conv. 2/3, Pen. 1/1)
Def. TONGA – 6
(Tries: Pangai | Kata (Conv. 1/1)
Earlier in the evening, the Samoa & Tonga fixture was prefaced by an exciting Test between Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
The Kumuls of PNG edged the Bati by two points in a gripping contest, in which the Sharks’ own Junior Roqica turned in a handy performance for Fiji.
In a tight 80 minutes it was only goal kicking which separated the sides, with the New Guinean’s narrowly sneaking home in a four-try-apiece affair.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – 24
(Tries: W.Boas (2), Ottio, Macdonald | Goals: A.Boas (Conv. 3/4, Pen. 1/1)
Def. FIJI – 22
(Tries: Vunakece, Qionimacawa (3)| Goals: Kennedy (Conv. 1/1), Moceidrake (Conv. 1/3, Pen. 1/1)