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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Fiji Bati have thrashed Toa Samoa 44-18 in the first match of the Eden Park triple-header on Saturday afternoon.
Scoring eight tries to four in front of a small Auckland crowd, Fiji led from start to finish to extend their dominance over their Pacific rivals to three wins from the previous four meetings.
Coming out of the blocks intent on making a statement in attack, tries to Joe Lovodua (5th minute) and D'Rhys Miller (9th minute) gave Fiji the perfect start to lead 12-0 inside the opening ten minutes.
Continuing the early onslaught through Viliame Kikau (15th minute) after a lovely short ball from Brandon Wakeham, interchange forward Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu (23rd minute) received a fortuitous call from the bunker to give the Bati a 24-0 lead in equal time with the clock.
Needing to stem the flow of points to have any chance of mounting a comeback, Tim Lafai (26th minute) struck out wide following a strong offload from Martin Taupau in the lead-up.
Capping off a memorable first half with a second four-pointer to Kikau (36th minute), the Bati headed to the sheds with a deserved 30-6 lead.
Returning to the field with a renewed sense of vigour, Samoa were rewarded for their intensity with Lafai producing a superb flick pass for Jorge Taufua (50th minute) to score in the corner.
Striking back moments later through Isaac Lumelume (53rd minute), Fiji held their nerve to secure the result with tries to Brayden Williame (63rd minute) and Kevin Naiqama (67th minute).
Crossing twice through Taufua (78th minute) and Ronaldo Mulitalo (80th minute) shortly before fulltime, the consolation efforts would prove inconsequential with Fiji running out 44-18 victors.
Samoa 18 - Fiji 44
Venue: Eden Park
Halftime Score: Samoa 6 Fiji 30
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Tui Kamikamica
2 points - Brandon Wakeham
1 points - Viliame Kikau
Tries: Timoteo Lafai, Jorge Taufua (2), Ronaldo Mulitalo
Conversions: Timoteo Lafai (1/4)
Tries: Joe Lovodua, D'Rhys Miller, Viliame Kikau (2), Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu, Isaac Lumelume, Brayden Wiliame, Kevin Naiqama
Conversions: Brandon Wakeham (5/6), Sitiveni Moceidreke (1/2)