Samoa will return to the World Rugby U20 Trophy after running out comfortable 36-0 victors over Tonga in the Oceania Rugby U20 Trophy in Apia on Saturday.
The Samoans have twice won the global tournament, in 2011 and 2016, and were runners-up to Fiji in their last appearance in 2018, having missed out in 2019 following a loss to Tonga in the Oceania qualifier.
Fly-half Louis Bartley-Saena had given Samoa the lead with a fourth minute penalty and winger Owen Niue then crossed for the opening try before Tonga lost captain 'Ofa Manukeu to the sin-bin.
Tonga held out in his absence but a brace of tries by scrum-half Steve Onosai put Samoa firmly in control with a 24-0 lead at half-time.
Full-back Indiha Sao-Tuihuta crossed for Samoa's fourth try in the 53rd minute, but three yellow cards for the hosts meant they were unable to build momentum in the rest of the match.
They did manage a fifth try, ironically when down to 13 men with Niue and Ailepata Lemalu in the sin-bin, through captain East Timor Fa’amatuainu.
“We had put a lot of effort into it as we knew Tonga was quite a strong team, so we worked on our set pieces and managed to work it well and we came out with a good result,” Fa’amatuainu said.
“We’ve trained a lot in the rain so for us it was a good run to get out there and put what we’ve practiced into the game. I’m really happy right now and more than proud for the boys as we have qualified.
“We trained hard and I know we deserved the win with three to four months in preparation, we are very happy with the win and qualifying for the World Rugby U20 Trophy.”
Samoa are the third team to qualify for the World Rugby U20 Trophy after Uruguay and Hong Kong, the regional qualifiers for South America and Asia.
Hosts Spain and relegated U20 Championship side Scotland are also assured of a place in the eight team line-up. The remaining places at the 14-27 September event will be filled by a qualifier from Europe, Africa and North America.