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2 days ago
Fiji Batis kept their World Cup dream alive when they came back from the dead to edge out Tonga 30-28 in the second round of the Oceania Qualifying Tournament.
A vocal crowd packed into Western Weekender Stadium in St Mary?s to see the Fijians score two tries in the final six minutes of the game to snatch a vital win.
Tonga led 10-8 at half-time before Hamilton Hughes put Fiji ahead with a 44th minute try. The Batis had a number of chances to extend their lead but were held out by the Tongan defence.
Tries to Manase Manukafoa and William Tapai put Tonga ahead 22-14 before St George Illawarra?s Wes Naiqama did well to step inside two players to score for the Fijians.
Tonga looked to have sealed the game when Andrew Emelio crossed in the 71st minute but the Fijians refused to accept defeat. Semisi Tora showed great strength to crash over in the 74th minute and Semesa Codrakilagi put Fiji ahead when he stepped inside the tiring defence to score with two minutes remaining.
In the other match, Samoa had no trouble in ousting the Cook Islands 46-6 after leading 26-6 at the break. Newcastle?s George Carmont was at his devastating best, scoring three tries.
The win by Fiji means that it will not be until the third and final round is contested when we find out which top two nations advance to the World Cup in 2008. If Tonga beats Samoa and Fiji overpowers Cook Islands, three nations (Fiji, Samoa and Tonga) will finish on the same number of points.
It will then come down to for and against.
Fiji 30 (Hamilton Hughes, James Lagiloa, Wes Naiqama, Semisi Tora, Semesa Codrakilagi tries; Naiqama 5 goals) d. Tonga 28 (Fetuli Talanoa, John Sinisa, Manase Manukafoa, William Tapai, Andrew Emelio tries; Joel Taufa?ao 4 goals) at Western Weekender Stadium. Crowd: 3813.
Referee: Gavin Badger
Samoa 46 (George Carmont 3, Chan Ly 2, Malofau Solomona 2, Jeff Lima, Peewee Moke tries; Rota Setu 3, Ly 2 goals) d. Cook Islands 6 (Tinirau Arona try; Marty Mitchell goal).
Referee: Jason Robinson.
Penrith Stadium, Saturday, October 7 Cook Islands vs Fiji Kick-off: 7pm
* Samoa v Tonga match will be played on October 22 in Leeds, England as part of the Federation Shield with France and England. The Samoa v Tonga game will also serve as a World Cup qualifying match.
P W L F A PTS Samoa 2 2 0 76 34 4 + 42 Tonga 2 1 1 84 44 2 + 40 Fiji 2 1 1 58 58 2 0 Cook Is. 2 0 2 102 20 0 - 82