Fiji and Samoa cruised into WXV on Tuesday, maintaining their 100 per cent starts to the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship 2023 to set up a title decider in five days’ time.

Samoa opened match-day two with an 83-0 win against Papua New Guinea on Australia’s Gold Coast, running in 13 tries against the Cassowaries, who were reduced to 14 players in the 11th minute.

Heading into Sunday’s final round, Manusina lead the standings on points difference from Fiji, who showed glimpses of their quality during a 45-12 defeat of Tonga.

It means that whoever emerges victorious from their match at Bond University on Sunday will claim the championship title and their place in WXV 2, alongside Scotland, Japan and South Africa.

The team that loses on Sunday will compete in WXV 3 this October. So far, Ireland, Kazakhstan and Kenya have confirmed their participation in the third level of the new women's international 15s competition.

Samoa beat 14-player PNG

Papua New Guinea frustrated Samoa in the early exchanges of their encounter at Bond University but their task became almost impossible following Regila Wilfred’s 11th-minute red card.

The flanker was sent off following a dangerous tackle on Utumalama Atonio and it was the Samoan number eight who scored the opening try of the match from a powerful drive from the resulting lineout.

Unsurprisingly, much of the remaining contest took place in the Papua New Guinea half and Hasting Leiataua (twice), Michelle Curry (twice), Makayla Eli and Mollie Tagaloa all went over before the break.

That gave Samoa a 45-0 half-time lead and it was one they extended through Ana Mamea, Nina Foaese and Alyce Solaese in the opening 14 minutes of the second half.

Papua New Guinea continued to work hard but they were reduced to 13 players for 10 minutes on the hour mark as captain Joana Lagona received a yellow card for a high tackle.

Replacement Samoa hooker Lulu Leuta scored from the resulting lineout, but Papua New Guinea fashioned their best chance while two players light, as Fatima Rama was played into space on the left wing.

Rama’s chip over the covering defender sailed into touch, however, and Samoa were able to add two further tries, through captain Sui Pauaraisa and Bella Milo before the final whistle sounded.

“It was a slow start. We came in and said to the girls, never underestimate any team in the comp because everyone is tough,” Pauaraisa said.

“We panicked at the start and after our first try got together and said to the girls, we need to calm down, settle down and play with our game plan. So that worked out well.”

Naimasi magic helps Fiji beat Tonga

It looked as though the crowd at Bond University were set to witness a second big score of the day as Fiji raced into a 14-0 lead inside 10 minutes in Robina.

Centre Vani Arei crashed over following an offload from captain Sereima Leweniqila to notch the first before flanker Raijeli Daveua marked her birthday with a try.

Fijiana lost second-row Nunia Daunimoala to injury soon afterwards, following an accidental clash of heads with team-mate Bitila Tawake, but they continued to dominate and scored their third try of the match in the 21st minute when Ana Maria Naimasi cantered over from close range.

Tonga refused to capitulate, though, and began to put their opponents under pressure in the second quarter of the match.

They got the rewards for that hard work with less than eight minutes of the first half remaining as Fiji lost the ball inside their own 22 and Sokopeti Akaiola made them pay, diving over from close range.

Shonte Toa converted to reduce the arrears to 14 points, but Fiji restored a healthy advantage early in the second half as Luisa Tisolo finished off a fine team move in the right corner. She couldn’t add to her three first-half conversions though.

Tonga gave themselves hope once more with around 25 minutes left as their forwards sucked in the Fiji defence to allow winger Loketi Mahoni the space to score in the left corner.

Toa’s touchline conversion drifted wide but regardless, Mahoni’s try gave Tonga a record score against Fiji.

Any hopes that landmark could prove a launchpad towards a memorable result were soon extinguished by Naimasi and the final quarter of the match belonged to Fijiana and their brilliant centre.

The Olympian launched an audacious counter-attack from behind her own posts with less than nine minutes remaining before passing to Daveua who sprinted from deep inside the Fijian half to score.

And there was still time for Naimasi to complete her hat-trick with another fine finish, replacement fly-half Wainikiti Vosadrau adding her second conversion to complete the scoring.

“We knew Tonga would come out hard on us and play with so much heart,” Leweniqila said. “In the last few minutes, we played our game and it worked out well for us.

“That’s the kind of game we want to play. Play open, play Fijian style. We’ve just got to find our rhythm and head into the final game against Samoa with confidence.”

Tonga flanker Seli Mailangi said: “I couldn’t be more proud of the girls and the heart that they showed today.” 

“We just knew that we had to be on an 80-minute game, and we didn’t do that. Fiji killed it in the second half.”