Women’s Tri-Nation Competition in Pacific

A new international competition for women’s rugby players in the South Pacific, the Tri-Nations Tournament. Fiji, Samoa and Tonga will play each other to promote women’s rugby on the far side of the planet.

TONGA: Pacific Women’s Rugby Tri-Nations Kicks Off
Saturday: April 15, 2006
By Peter Rees, Pacific Magazine

Raising the profile of women’s rugby in the Pacific is the objective of the FORU (Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions) Women’s Tri-nations tournament which kicks of today in Nuku’alofa, Tonga.

Tonga, Fiji and Samoa are the competing nations in a tournament which FORU hopes to make an annual event.

The timing of the event in conjunction with the opening rounds of the inaugural IRB Pacific Rugby Championship (PRC) is to create more awareness for the women’s game in the islands.

While Samoa’s Manusina and Tonga have already gained test status, this will be Fiji’s international debut. Their national side dubbed Fijiana draws from locally based players playing in a new domestic competition. They have warmed up with several preliminary matches against visiting overseas women’s teams.

In contrast, the Manusina is made up almost entirely from New Zealand based players. Samoa will be representing the Pacific later this year in August/September at the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in Canada.

The draw sees Fijiana take on Manusina in the opening game at Teufaiva Stadium in a midday kickoff which is the curtain raiser for the first round PRC match between Tau’uta Reds & Savai’i Samoa.

Fijiana then takes on hosts Tonga next Wednesday, 19 April at Apifoou College. The final game will be played between Tonga and Manusina at Teufaiva Stadium on 22 April, another PRC curtainraiser match this time seeing Tautahi Gold play Savai’i Samoa.

And Samoa beat my personal favorite Fiji …

TONGA: Samoa Defeats Fiji In Women’s Rugby Tri-Nations Opener
Sunday: April 16, 2006
By Peter Rees, Pacific Magazine

The Samoa national women’s rugby team Manusina beat their Fijian counterparts Fijiana, 27-15, in the opening match of the FORU Women’s Tri Nations Tournament in Nuku’alofa on Saturday (local time).

The Samoans scored five tries to three in a closely fought match at Teufaiva Stadium which was Fiji’s international debut in women’s rugby.

The superior experience of Manusina, made up entirely of New Zealand based players, proved too much in the end for the locally selected Fijiana side. But despite the gap in talent, the Fijians put up a stronger than expected challenge.

Fiji shocked the Samoans with the first try of the match after just five minutes to flanker Titilia Ravono.

But Manusina fought back to score two unanswered tries to lead 10-5 at half-time.

Fijiana’s enterprising backline play was rewarded in the second with half with further tries to prop Mereoni Uluiviti and halfback Eleina McDonald.

But the overall forward strength and tactical game of Manusina saw them take the match. Their star was winger Ruth Pereira who got 2 tries, narrowly missing a third thwarted by a dangerous tackle made on her as she was about to score. But the referee awarded a penalty try for the offense anyway. Vicki Logopati scored Manusina’s other try with Bella Milo adding a conversion.

Samoa’s winning margin was reduced by a poor kicking display and a high penalty count.

Fijiana takes on hosts Tonga in the next match on Wednesday at Apifoou College.

Samoa will represent the Pacific later this year at the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in Canada.

Samoa, Scotland and Canada will play each other in Pool D of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in September.

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