Samoa to face Fiji in U20 Trophy final

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Photo: World Rugby

The World Rugby U20 Trophy 2018 final will be an all-Pacific Islands affair with Samoa and Fiji meeting to not only determine the champion but also the side who will be promoted to the U20 Championship next year.

6 September 2018, World Rugby News - Fiji stands between Samoa and a third World Rugby U20 Trophy success following a thrilling final day of pool action in Bucharest, Romania, on Wednesday.

Samoa have won every single match they have played in this competition but that proud record will be severely tested in the final against their fellow Pacific Islanders on Sunday.

The Samoans overcame a half-time deficit to beat Namibia 41-28 in the opening match of the day and secure top spot in Pool A.

Fiji, meanwhile, trailed Canada until the 66th minute but a late flurry of tries saw them home, sealing Pool B spoils and condemning their opponents to a third straight defeat, this time 53-26.

Namibia will play Portugal in the third-place play-off following an impressive 26-15 victory over Uruguay, while the defeated South Americans will face Hong Kong for fifth place after the Asian side beat Romania 56-33 in the final match of the day.

The hosts will play fellow Canada on Sunday with both sides hoping to end the tournament on a high with their first victory.



Hooker Tim Lilomaiava gave Samoa the perfect start in their winner-takes-all clash with Namibia in Pool A as he finished off a fine team move within two minutes, beating the defender powerfully in the right corner.

The lead lasted less than five minutes, however, as Namibia hooker Jan Basson emulated his opposite number and a rare Denzo Bruwer miss from the conversion kept the scores level.

A nip and tuck half developed, Alex Tavita crossing for the second Samoan try before Bruwer and Simon Toleafoa traded penalties. 

Momentum swung the African side’s way in the 33rd minute when Toleafoa was sent to the sin-bin. Namibia took full advantage, full-back Chad Plato scoring his side’s second try before another Bruwer penalty gave them a 18-15 half-time lead.

A third followed less than a minute after the restart, but when fly-half Toleafoa converted Sione Young Yen’s 49th-minute try Samoa took a lead they would not relinquish.

Wesley Patu and Pio Fuiono both crossed before the hour mark to stretch Samoa’s advantage to 13 points and break their opponents’ resolve.

Namibia rang the changes but it had little effect, Shammah-Anthony Solomona scored his side’s sixth try and even after Austin Faamausili had been shown a yellow card there was little respite.

But with Frank Sio and Sipaia Fetu taking the tally of sin-binned Samoans to four late on, Namibia grabbed a third try as replacement prop Gerhard Opperman touched down.



Photo: World Rugby