A dramatic finish at Cbus Super Stadium has seen Samoa claim a thrilling 18-16 victory over Tonga in a gripping Pacific Test on Saturday 2 May.
With minutes to go on the clock, Tongan winger Jorge Taufua looked certain to score in the corner and claim victory, before a match-winning try saving tackle from Samoan forwards Sam Kasiano and Frank Pritchard forced the winger into touch.
The match started with fierce and intense pre-match war cries from both sides with the Tongan Sipi Tau led by Eels forward Peni Terepo.
The intensity carried into the game and Samoa had the early running making easy metres however it was Tonga who looked to have put the first points on the board in the opening 10 minutes however Solomone Kata was ruled to have planted the ball after a double movement and the try was disallowed.
Samoa looked to cross for their first try six minutes later, however Samoan captain Frank Pritchard’s run into the in-goal was ruled to be an obstruction and the score remained nil all.
Josh McGuire opened the scoring in the match, giving the the Samoan side their first try as he dummied close to the line and crashed over two defenders to score. However the lead was short lived, as Tonga hit back shortly after through Taufua.
Tongan forwards Terepo and Siosiua Taukeiaho got the forwards on a roll and some quick passes through their backline saw the winger to score out wide.
With three minutes until half time, Samaon winger Sosaia Feki was looking for the sheds as his nightmare opening 40minutes continued. Feki fumbled the ball close to the line and Daniel Vidot benefited from the error as he crashed over in the corner after some quick hands down the left edge; Samoa taking a 10-4 lead at half time.
The second half saw Tonga make the most of their possession and they crossed for back-to-back tries through Taufua and Sika Manu to give them a 14-10 lead after 50 minutes of fast-flowing action.
The back and forth scoring continued as Samoa crossed for their next try through Pritchard in the 64th minute before a Kata penalty goal saw Tonga retake the lead.
With the match see-sawing, Samoa hit the lead with a vital try with 10 minutes to go as Dominique Peyroux received the ball 35m out from the Tongan line and stepped and powered his way through the defenders and score to the right of the posts.
Tonga had the opportunity to take a penalty with three minutes from fulltime to level the score, however they opted to kick the ball in to touch and remain on the attack close to the Samoan line.
The decision proved to be costly as Taufua was shortly bundled into touch by the two Samoan big-boppers which secured the 18-16 victory to Samoa in front of the vocal 12,336 crowd.
Samoa 18 (Josh McGuire, Daniel Vidot, Frank Pritchard, Dominique Peyroux tries; Tim Simona goal) def. Tonga 16 (Jorge Taufua 2, Sika Manu tries; Solomone Kata 2 goals) at Cbus Super Stadium. Half-time: Samoa 10-4. Crowd: 12,336.