Upolu Samoa continued the unbeaten start to their defence of the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup title with a 22-5 defeat of Fiji Barbarians away from home at Churchill Park in Lautoka on Friday.

The defending champions, who had beaten Tau’uta Reds 20-12 in the opening round last weekend, had to come from behind to record the victory though after wing Vima Tuidraki had given the Barbarians the lead with a ninth minute try before the 3,000 strong crowd.

Fiji Barbarians’ lead only lasted seven minutes before Upolu Samoa’s own left wing Pulemalie Sopo touched down for a try, converted by one of Samoa Sevens stars in full back Lolu Lui to give the visitors a 7-5 lead.

The score remained that way until half time as both sides missed with penalty attempts with a yellow card for flanker Simaika Mikaele, another Samoan Sevens regular, just before the half hour mark in the match.

Fiji Barbarians rang the changes in the opening quarter after the interval, a period which saw centre Gasolo Salima stretch Upolu Samoa’s advantage with a try in the 54th minute, a score again converted by Lui.

Salima touched down again 11 minutes later and although Lui missed the conversion that time, the full back added a penalty shortly afterwards to give Upolu Samoa a 22-5 lead and allow their coach Fepuleai Selefuti Patu to introduce all of his bench to the fray.

Upolu Samoa now return home for their remaining matches in the round robin stage, the first being against Fiji Warriors in April on 2 May, while Fiji Barbarians will face Tau’uta Reds in round three at Lawaqa Park.

Fiji Barbarians: 1. Isikeli Gavidi 2. Sakeo Latianara (16. Eseroma Cakacaka) 3. Setefano Somoca (17. Aritema Warua) 4. Kolinio Vasuilagi 5. Moses Fatiako(19. Filipe Kuruvoli) 6. Ratu Josefa Nagatalevu 7. Mitieli Cama 8. Samuela Bola (Captain) (18. Joeli Lutumailagi) 9. Nemia Kenatale (20. Kelemedi Bola) 10. Amani Bosenawai 11. Vima Tuidraki 12. Ravai Fatiaki 13. Masi Naoma (22. Ropate Ratu) 14. Aloisio Buto (21. Tikiko Uluiviti) 15. Isimeli Koniferedi.

Try: Vima Tuidraki

Upolu Samoa: 1. Muliufi Salanoa (Captain) (17. Evile Telea) 2. Andrew Williams (16. Mulifusi Ulima) 3. Taligatuli Moala 4. Ola Pipili (19. Sirovai Sila) 5. Tui Fitiao (18. Ken Ulia) 6. Simaika Mikaele 7. Alapasa Cortdz 8. Filipo Levi 9. Notise Tauafao (20. Dominic Gabriel) 10. Roger Warren (22. Mathew Iakopo) 11. Pulemalie Sopo 12. Samasoni Moala (21. Joyner Key) 13. Gasolo Salima 14. Timoteo Iosua 15. Lolo Lui.

Tries: Pulemalie Sopo, Gasolo Salima (2)
Conversions: Lolo Lui (2)
Penalties: Lolo Lui

Yellow card: Simaika Mikaele

The second round of the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup continues on Saturday with a repeat of the inaugural final between Savai'i Samoa and Fiji Warriors at Prince Edward Park in Savai'i and the all-Tongan affair at Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku'alofa between Tautahi Gold and 2007 runners up Tau'uta Reds.