Tonga secure bigger prize


Samoa have won the rugby sevens gold medal at the Vanuatu Pacific Mini Games after defeating Fiji 14-7 in the final.
Samoa led 14-0 at half-time but the one thing opponents know, is that Fiji are never to be underestimated. The second half was a physical and feisty affair.
When Fiji scored, seasoned pundits were nodding in expectation that the floodgates would open, but to Samoa’s credit they faced this foes before.
Samoa defended well and gave Fiji no space to do their trademark break and run and as the clock ran down, it became more obvious that Samoa had what it was going to take to hold on to win this Pacific Games title.
Having lost to Fiji in Port Moresby at the 2015 Pacific Games, Samoa were out for revenge and managed to repeat their Mini Games form from 2013 in Wallis and Futuna.
Perhaps the bigger story of the night though was the Bronze medal match between Tonga and Solomon Islands.
Tonga took the match with a 24-19 score line but it was a hard fought win.
Both teams knew the value of this match – not only was there a Games medal at stake but perhaps the bigger prize awaiting the winner was the final Oceania spot in the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup.
Solomon Islands had control in the first half of the game but Tonga fought back with both determination and a great deal of support from a very vocal Tongan contingent in the crowd.
In other results, New Caledonia secured a 17-12 win to secure fifth place, while the hosts Vanuatu finished a creditable seventh defeating Niue.
It was an improved performance from the 11th place ranking in the recent Oceania 7s championships.