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Warriors Go Down Fighting

Raiyala shines at fullback with 3 tries   The Telecom Fijian Warriors side came close to clinching the World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge title as they narrowly went down 27-26
18 Oct 2016 11:20
Warriors Go Down Fighting

Raiyala shines at fullback with 3 tries

 

The Telecom Fijian Warriors side came close to clinching the World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge title as they narrowly went down 27-26 to Argentina XV in Montevideo, Uruguay, yesterday.

After a tight and cagey opening to the final that produced only three points in 20 minutes from the boot of Argentinean first five eight Juan Cruz Gonzalez. They capitalised on a Fijian yellow card and Julian Dominguez Widmer and Gonzalez both scored tries in quick succession. Gonzalez converted both tries for a 17-0 lead at half time.

The Warriors fought back in the second half, with fullback Lepani Raiyala and Sitiveni Kunaga both scoring to make it 17-12. Then Raiyala struck again in the 62nd minute and the Fijians had their tails up as they led 19-17 for the first time in the match.

Gonzalez nudged the South Americans back in front with a penalty, only for Raiyala’s hat trick score to take the Fijians further in front at 26-20, with 10 minutes to play.

However, in a finale befitting the high-scoring, breathless rugby the tournament had served up, the Argentines were to have the final say.

In the 80th minute, 22-year-old Pedro Ortega crossed to make it 26-25, and Gonzalez held his nerve impeccably to convert with the final kick and hand the Argentineans a single point victory.

In earlier matches on the final day, Samoa A led Canada A 21-10 at half time but trailed 21-22 with only eight minutes to play, before a late penalty and a drop goal by Samoan sevens captain Patrick Faapale sealed victory 27-22.

Tournament hosts Uruguay A then delighted the home support by outscoring USA Select seven tries to two to win their final match 47-15 and land third place overall.

Edited Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  anasilinir@fijisun.com.fj



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