Samoa will get the 2019 IRB Pacific Nations Cup underway by entertaining a visit from Tonga at the Apia Park in Apia on the 27th of July 2019 as from 15:00 local time. The hosts will be aiming for a first triumph in tournament since 2015 while Tonga will be aiming to lift the trophy for the very first time. Each of these teams qualified for the 2019 RWC and will be using this match as a crucial warm-up game ahead of the crunch global tournament that is set to take place as from September 2019.
This edition of the Pacific Nations Cup will see teams play three matches each in a cross-pool format. Therefore, Samoa who are in pool B will play against pool A teams: Tonga (27th July), USA (3rd August), and Fiji (10th August). On the other hand, Tonga who are in pool A will play against Samoa (27th July), Japan (3rd August), and Canada (9th August).
In their most recent match, Samoa were beaten 30-29 for the very first time by the USA men’s Eagles. Joe Taufete’e crossed the line for the USA with Will Hooley converting a penalty before Hanco Germishuys scored and impressive try to extend the lead to 15-0. The Samoans staged a comeback however and scored three consecutive tries via Logovi’i Mulipola, Ed Fidow, and Faifili Levave which Tusi Pisi duly converted for a 15-21 lead. Cameron Dolan scored a late 1st half try for USA for a 20-21 halftime scoreline. Samoa started the 2nd half strongly with a Jamie-Jerry Taulagi try but Cam Dolan scored another impressive try which saw the Eagles retake their lead. In a match that somewhat was turned into a rollercoaster affair, Leuila scored a penalty that gave Samoa another comeback lead but a heroic Will Hooley penalty won the game for the Eagles.
Tonga on the other hand conceded 10 tries against Wales to go down crushing 74-24 in their most recent match. Wales had scored three quick tries but Tonga fought back to level the score at 24-24 just after halftime. However, Wales found their swagger once more and scored 50 unanswered tries afterwards in an all Welsh affair to record their highest ever scoreline.
The last 3 Samoa matches saw them play two RWC qualifiers and one test match. They won a double-header match against Germany 66-15 and 28-42 to qualify for the RWC before losing 30-29 to the USA’s Eagles in November international friendly.
On their side, Tonga have played two matches since the 2018 Pacific Nations Cup. They won 19-27 against Fiji before suffering a humiliating 74-24 loss to Wales the 2018 November Internationals.
Head to Head
Samoa have played Tonga 11 times since 2006. 10 times in the Pacific Nations Cup and once in the RWC where Tonga edged Samoa by 19-15.
In the 10 Pacific Nations Cup meetings, Samoa has won 6 while Tonga won 3 with one game ending in a draw. Save for the 1st meeting in 2006, all the other matches have been won by the team playing at home meaning that home advantage plays a big role in this type of fixture.
Samoa Rugby opted for a strong squad in this Edition of the Pacific Nations Cup with star players such as try-scoring machine Johnny Vaili, tighthead prop Alofaaga Sao, and electrifying 7’s player, Tofatuimoana Solia. The trio will be Key for Manu Samoa as they clash with this crucial warm-up game before the RWC.
Tonga’s scrum-half Sonatane Takulua will be key for Tonga if they are to beat Samoa away from home for the first time in the Pacific Nations Cup. Takulua leads the current squad in tries and points stats will be a player to watch in this game as Tonga visit Samoa in the Apia Park.
Home advantage has been exhibited in the Pacific Nations Cup matches involving Samoa and Tonga with the home team winning all the games except one (Samoa 0-33 win in 2006). Therefore, Samoa will have the edge in this one.
Samoa 24-19 Tonga