Fiji demolishes Samoa to book a place in the World Cup-semi final | Pacific Beat

Fiji demolishes Samoa to book a place in the World Cup-semi final

Fiji demolishes Samoa to book a place in the World Cup-semi final

Updated 18 November 2013, 12:52 AEST

Fiji has defeated Samoa 22-4 in the Rugby League World Cup to book a semi-final berth against Australia at Wembley Stadium in London.

Rugby league expert Joanna Lester has been watching the game in Warrington and told Bruce Hill it was the first time Fiji has shown the flare their known for.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker: Joanna Lester, rugby league expert.

LESTER: Samoa were disappointing. Now, this was the best performance of the World Cup so far from Fiji. We really saw from them this game some of the Fijian flair that we've come to expect, but haven't really seen so far in this World Cup. They scored very early from scrum off Aaron Groom, who ended up being Man of the Match, created overlaps reasonably easily in the game and so they led 6-0, got Wes Naiqama penalty and he scored again a try, it just before half time, so 14-0 lead at half time and Samoa came out a little better at the start of the second half, scored about an hour into the game through Antonio Winterstein but that was as good as it got for Samoa really. Their halfbacks really failed to create much and although they were going forward, there were just not enough ideas in attack and creativity for Samoa and Fiji got a late penalty and another late try from Mateo Junior to wrap it up at 22-4.
HILL: Now, did those suspensions from previous matches cause Samoa some problems, because they had some players missing?
 
LESTER: Well, they had Leeson Ah Mau missing, but also there's a number of players that they've not been able to use in the tournament because of injuries. Their captain Harrison Hansen and Reni Maitua so, the cumulative affect of all these injuries and suspensions has been difficult for Samoa, but they're playmakers just really, really struggled today and most of the players they've lost are forwards and they're actually quite good in forwards. So yeah, I mean it was difficult for Samoa, today and their coach, Matt Parish, was at a loss to explain it really - it was just one of those days where things didn't go right for them.
 
HILL: I understand the crowd were on their side though. The crowd of Warrington have really taken to Samoa to their hearts, haven't they?
 
LESTER: Yes, they were very much supporting Samoa and when they got that try early in the second half, there was a real lift in the atmosphere.
 
Samoa has been based in Warrington for most of the World Cup, apart from that week when they were in France and there were lots of community visits, school visits there. They've got lots of new fans and followers among the people of Warrington, so definitely, it was almost their home game in terms of the atmosphere, but the flair and the attacking skills of the Fijians was appreciated too I think.
 
HILL: Now Joanna, Fiji semi-final berth against Australia - that's actually going to be a repeat of the 2008 World Cup Semi-Final and if you remember, Australia won that won 52 points to nil. Is it going to be another white wash or are Fiji competitive now?
 
LESTER: Well, I think Fiji are looking better this year than they did that year. They'll obviously be hoping to improve on that 52-0 score line and I would like to think they just keep Australia both below 50 and score I said that actually about the USA in their quarter final and that didn't happen. But Fiji obviously a far better side and they just and as their coach, Rick Stone, said today, their plan is to get the Australians out of their comfort zone. He knows that there are ways to trouble the Australians and they'll be looking over the match videos carefully this week and so they believe that they can go and do something in their game. I don't think they're terribly confident about winning it, but I'm sure they'll be hoping to improve on that 52-nil scoreline from 2008.
 

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