Rugby-Lam scores double as Samoa win Pacific title

Samoa propelled Australia A to the Pacific Nations Cup title on Saturday after a second-half fightback gave them a 23-20 win over tournament hosts Fiji at Churchill Park in Lautoka.

Substitute hooker Seilala Lam scored two tries after his break introduction as Samoa overturned a 17-3 deficit to claim a third straight win. “It took 80 minutes of effort to get there, we know the Fijians are world class and they showed it in the first half,” said Samoa captain Michael Ala’alatoa.

“I’m so proud that our boys are hanging on deep. In the past, we would have lost these games, but we’re starting to build a winning culture.” Needing to win to claim the title, Samoa looked set to fail as Fiji took control after a drive down the line from Albert Tuisue and an individual effort from Frank Lomani that left three defenders in its wake.

However, Lam rode on the back of a maul to cut the deficit two minutes into the second half and a pair of penalties from Rodney Iona moved Samoa within four of the Fijians. Lam struck once more with 10 minutes left when he again capitalized on the strength of the pack to hit the ground and Iona’s conversion gave Samoa a game-winning cushion.

Earlier on Saturday, two tries from Filipo Daugunu helped Australia A win 39-22 against Tonga. Samiuela Moli put Tonga, who will face Hong Kong in a crucial World Cup qualifier in Australia next weekend, ahead in the second minute when he hit the ground at the back of a maul driving.

But, after Ryan Lonergan’s penalty, Daugunu dove to score in the corner in the 13th minute to put his side ahead. Lonergan and William Havili traded penalties before the Australians extended their lead through Langi Gleeson.

Hamish Stewart added a third under the posts five minutes after the restart before Moli reduced Tonga’s deficit with a carbon copy from their opener. Daugunu capitalized on Gleeson’s bulldozer run on the hour mark to score in the corner while James Tuttle canceled out Jay Fonokalafi’s try to secure a comfortable win.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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