Flying Fijians proved out to be the strongest opponent when they defeated their arch-rivals Manu Samoa 33-19 at Apia Park Saturday.
With 12 changes after a win over Tonga and four debutants in the run-on team, the Flying Fijians made a perfect start in their first away match.
Flying Fijians looked more organized and focused from the beginning as they gained territory on the field. Tevita Ikanivere scored the first try of the match, powering his way over the try line.
Running high on debut, outside center Iosefo Masi broke the Samoa defense adding another try to his name. This time fly-half Caleb Muntz managed to add extra two points. Fiji led 12-0.
FIJI Water Flying Fijians again mounted the pressure and managed to gain possession in Samoa’s red zone. A well-taken line-out saw Flying Fijians driving the maul toward the host try line and Ikanivere diving for his second try.
Christian Lealiifano grabbed Samoa’s first try but Muntz extended Fiji’s lead by slotting in the penalty.
Speedster Selestino Ravutaumada turned into a short-distance athlete racing away from the opponents’ defense for Fiji’s third try.
Muntz added the two points and then another three before the breather.
Flying Fijians led 30-5 at halftime.
Samoa turned out to be a changed side in the second spell as they scored two unanswered tries. But it was too late to even close the gap on the scoreboard.
Flying Fijians Head Coach Simon Raiwalui said “We are happy to get the win over a very strong Samoa side. There are a lot of things to work on from tomorrow and prepare for another tough match in Japan.”
Captain Semi Radradra said they expected a tough encounter against their opponents on Saturday.
“Playing against the brother is always tough. We knew they came prepared and would be more physical today especially playing in front of the home crowd” said Radradra.
The side returns home on Monday before flying over to Japan for their third test match against the Brave Blossoms on Saturday.