By John Davidson, (RLP RLWC Correspondent) Date: 18/11/13
The Bati have edged past Samoa 22-4 to earn another shot at Australia in the World Cup semi-finals.
This was a virtual shutout from Fiji. The Bati dominated the game and were just too clinical and structured for a hapless Samoa.
Fiji scored three tries to Samoa’s one and improved their edge defence which had been shaky in previous matches. Now they face the Kangaroos again, a couple of weeks after their defeat in St Helens, while Samoa’s World Cup ends.
The first half was all Fiji. Akilua Uate made a bust up the middle three minutes in, drew the fullback and put Aarom Groom over to score.
Six minutes later and Fiji extended their lead to 8-0 thanks to a Wes Naiqama penalty.
Basic errors and mistakes meant Samoa’s attacks led to nothing. Poor last tackle options let Fiji off the hook and the substitution of Samoan stand-off Penani Manumalealii after just 17 minutes did little to help their stuttering attack.
A string of penalties to Samoa when they were camped on Fiji’s line were not capitalised upon. Fiji, on the other hand, were much more clinical.
With eight minutes left in the half the Fijians were in again, this time after Wes Naiqama was first to a well-placed grubber. He converted his own try and the Bati were up 14-0 at the break.
In the second half Samoa finally got on the scoreboard 17 minutes in. Antonio Winterstein scored in the left corner after a great backline movement, but it was not enough. The Samoans continued to drop the ball and push passes, and then Naiqama converted another penalty. Fiji finally put the game completely out of reach three minutes from the end. Uate, one of the stars for the Bati, gave Apisai Koroisau a miracle offload and he then did the same for Semi Radradra Turagasoli to touch down.
Samoa 4, Tries: Winterstein,
Fiji 22, Tries: Groom, Naiqama, Junior, Goals: Naiqama (5).