Fiji's second win over Samoa in the space of eight days at the Oceania Rugby Women's Championship in Lautoka has seen them qualify for Rugby World Cup 2021.
They become the second regional qualifier after South Africa to book their place in the line-up in New Zealand alongside the hosts and the other top-seven placed teams at the last tournament – England, USA, France, Canada, Australia and Wales.
Having fought hard to beat Samoa 26-7 last Friday Fiji managed to win even more convincingly second time around, running in six tries in a 41-13 victory. Aloesi Nakoci and Lavinia Cavuru both grabbed a brace apiece with Lavenia Tinai and Seini Raoma also getting their names on the scoresheet.
“It was a tough game and we know that they were going to come out hard and tough,” said Fijiana captain Sereima Leweniqila.
With Fiji qualifying for the first time to a Rugby World Cup, Leweniqila said she was very grateful and humbled.
“The feeling is still sinking in as it's history in the making,” she said. “I just want to thank the girls and hats off to them for all the work.
Manusina captain Nina Foaese said that it was a disappointing loss for the team that had high expectations on their own performance.
“It was a hard match playing against Fiji today and they came out wanting it more,” admitted Foaese.
Samoa, who have competed at three previous Rugby World Cups – in 2002, 2006 and 2014, still have a chance to make it to a fourth tournament as they will now face either Tonga or Papua New Guinea for the right to enter the global repechage that will determine the 12th and final qualifier for RWC 2021.
In the first game at Churchill Park on Saturday, a Fijiana Development XV defeated Papua New Guinea 40-22.
Photo: Oceania Rugby