The Fiji women’s rugby team have defended the Oceania Women’s Championship title.
The hosts defeated Samoa 43-12 in the final round of matches in Lautoka on Saturday to finish unbeaten in the four-team tournament.
Captain Rusila Nagasau said the Fijiana 15s were determined to get one back on their Manu Sina rivals.
“2006 Samoa won the game – but now we talked about that we wanted to break that chain of 12 years. I think we did that today,” she said.
“We know women’s rugby in Fiji is not that important but this is what we did. This was our aim to set a platform for women’s rugby – not just in Fiji but throughout the Pacific and for the world.”
An emotional Manu Sina skipper Masuisui Pauraisa thanked the Samoan supporters and said, after returning from four years in the international rugby wilderness, the players already had their sights on 2021.
“We’re still proud of the girls, I’m so grateful and blessed to be Samoan and this is the beginning and we’re going to go and we’re going to go and try make the World Cup,” she said.
“To our Fijiana sisters thank you for a great game – we knew it was going to be hard. Well deserved win.
“We know what we have to do – when we go back we’re going to train hard and we’ll see you next time. Maybe we will beat you then.”
Meanwhile, Tonga came from six points down at half-time to thrash Papua New Guinea 62-26 in the other final round clash, to finish in third place.
Captain Vaiga Moimoi said after letting their early lead slip away they readjusted their mindset at half-time.
“Focusing, just leaving everything on the field as it was most of our girls’ third time ever playing rugby and just grateful to have the opportunity to show everyone what we have,” she said.
“I’m very proud just knowing the girls gave it their all.”
PNG Palais skipper Debbie Kaore said they were punished again for not being able to go the distance.
“I think second half is always our weakness – still from the Samoa game and the Fiji game and the Tongan game now,” she said.
“We really need to work a lot on our second halves. We are always working hard in our first halves but we really need to improve on our second halves, coming back. We didn’t really do much of our set plays unfortunately, but hopefully next time.
“We came for a purpose. Unfortunately, we didn’t get what we wanted but we’re looking forward to the future.”
The Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship is now an annual event and will return in 2019.