Tonga’s hopes of moving to the knock out stage of the competition was snuffed out by Argentina. Photo: Planet Rugby
All three Pacific island teams look set to make an early exit from the 2015 Rugby World Cup after mediocre performances for the first three weeks of the competition.
Fiji after being crowned the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup champions in August lost all of their first three matches against England, Australia and Wales before winning their last match against Uruguay.
Japan celebrate their 26-5 win after the game against Samoa. Photo: Reuters / Darren Staples Livepic
A record 25 million people in Japan watched their national team beat Samoa in the World Cup amidst mounting rugby fever, the global governing body says.
Twenty per cent of the entire Japanese population tuned in to Saturday’s match which the Brave Blossoms won 26-5 to record their second victory at the tournament, World Rugby said on Monday.
Tonga’s early loss to Georgia set the tone for a disappointing opening phase to the Rugby World Cup by Pacific Islands teams.
The biggest disappointment from the opening phases of the Rugby World Cup has been the lack of impact from the Pacific Island teams.
A relieved Tonga are crowing about seeing off Namibia 35-21 in the latest island effort.
That’s mainly because it is an improvement on their first-round loss to Georgia.
Census Johnston gets call up to play for Samoa in RWC. Photo: Getty Images
Census Johnston has been called up to Samoa’s World Cup squad after Leicester’s Logovi’i Mulipola was forced to pull out through injury.
The 34-year-old signed a contract extension at Toulouse before calling time on his international career in April, with reports suggesting he came to the decision in a bid to safeguard his future at the French club.
However, he then changed his mind to play in the historic Test against New Zealand on July 8, when the All Blacks made their first appearance in Samoa.
Part one of a series by Daniel Schofield of The Telegraph puts rugby under the microscope before the World Cup focuses on a shameful and harrowing tale of exploitation
France’s winger Noa Nakaitaci scores a try during the rugby union test match between France and Scotland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis last month. Photo: AFP
Fiji, who take on England in the opening World Cup match on Sept 18, have a long and proud tradition of producing the fastest fliers on the planet. Indeed, they are fast becoming a must-have accessory for every nation.
Other than Fiji, New Zealand (Waisake Naholo), Australia (Henry Speight) and France (Noa Nakaitaci) will field wings born on the Pacific Island in the World Cup. England might call up Semesa Rokoduguni if injury strikes, while Scotland tried to recruit Taqele Naiyaravoro for the next tournament, but lost out to Australia.
Samoa doing the siva tau in an international against Fiji. Photo: Zoomfiji
All three Pacific island teams have been world beaters in their own right in the past seven competitions but will the islanders break new ground in meeting up in the knock out stages in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Fiji will have to win Pool A to meet Samoa, as the second team from Pool B if they are to cross swords or vice versa, Samoa topping Pool B and Fiji making the second team from Pool A to advance to the quarterfinals.
Legend: Brian Lima in action for Samoa in Melbourne during the 2003 World Cup. Photo: Craig Golding, SMH
Almost a quarter of a century ago, in the pool rounds of the 1991 rugby World Cup, Western Samoa pulled off one of rugby’s biggest upsets when they beat the once-mighty Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.
It was a result that shook rugby’s established world order to the core, offering a first-hand look at the awesome, largely untapped potential of the Pacific Islanders as well as the decline of Wales, one of the sport’s traditional powers.
Manu Samoa and Fijian players pray after the PNC final in Burnaby, BC last Tuesday. Photo: World Rugby
The Flying Fijians preparing for the Rugby World Cup has the potential to break into the next level for the first time, earning a semi-final berth in England.
The road there is maybe the most difficult in terms of the opponents lined up against them but the coaching staff and players which assembled last month and the gelling of the team during the Pacific Nations Cup is phenomenal.
Coach John McKee has no qualms about the taking up the challenge being the most adeptly prepared for the mission but at the same time perplexed at the enormity of the task.
Fiji celebrates 39-29 win against Manu Samoa in PNC final in British Columbia. Photo: World Rugby
Fiji sent out a Rugby World Cup warning to their Pool A rivals England, Australia, Wales and Uruguay after a ruthless display of finishing saw them claim the Pacific Nations Cup 2015 title at the expense of rivals Samoa.
Fiji defeated Samoa 39-29 in a thrilling final at the Swangard Stadium in Burnaby to claim their second Pacific Nations Cup crown and head into RWC 2015 full of confidence
Second-rower Leone Nakawara grabbed two of his side’s five tries with the others coming from influential scrum-half Niko Matawalu, Kini Murimurivalu and Akapusi Qera in a see-saw contest that saw Fiji race into a 17-3 lead before being reeled back in by Samoa. But just as the physical Samoans appeared to have taken control of the contest, Fiji came storming back with three quickfire tries that saw them reclaim the initiative and pull clear.
Manu Samoa launch another attack against Canada at the BMO Field in Toronto. Photo: World Rugby
Samoa and Fiji will meet again in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup 2015 final after both maintained their unbeaten records with tight victories over hosts Canada and Japan in Toronto on Wednesday.
The Samoans needed a try on the stroke of full-time by Sakaria Taulafo to snatch a 21-20 victory over Canada, the replacement prop catching a loose ball off a ricochet from a lineout to dive over and secure the final place.
Fiji, who had played out a thrilling 30-30 draw with Samoa in round two, had to hang on for a 27-22 victory against Japan, finishing the match with only 13 players as the Brave Blossoms came within inches of completing their comeback with another try.