Tonga beats Samoa 30-26 in Pacific Nations Cup
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Tonga has beaten Samoa 30-26 in a Pacific Nations Cup rugby test on Saturday, its first test in eight years in the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa.
In front of a crowd of 10,000 at the Teufaiva Stadium, Tonga built a 20-16 lead by halftime then held out Samoa in the second half with a try, conversion and penalty to England-based scrumhalf Sonatane Takulua.
Tonga led 30-19 before a try to Alapati Leiua, converted by Tusi Pisi, brought Samoa within four points. But the home side hung on to join Samoa on five points on the Pacific Nations Cup table, behind leaders Fiji with eight points.
Tonga will face Fiji in Suva next weekend while Samoa will host Fiji in Apia a week later.
The top-placed team at the end of the tournament will join Australia, Georgia and Wales in Pool D at the 2019 Rugby World Cup while the second-placed team will qualify in the same pool as England, France and Argentina.
The third team will compete with a European qualifier for a place in Pool A with hosts Japan, Scotland and Ireland.