Tonga overcome Samoa

Tonga won the battle of the islands as they defeated Samoa 32-18.

The Mate Ma’a continue to impress as they progress through the competition, with centre Michael Jennings scoring two more tries to take his tally for the competition to five.

In a typically flamboyant fixture, it was the pre-match build-up that grabbed as many headlines as the game itself, as the two nations embraced for a joint prayer before simultaneous war cries.

Early tries were exchanged through Jennings and Jazz Tevega, but a Siua Taukeiaho penalty nudged Tonga ahead before Jennings’ second gave them a 14-6 lead at the break.

The start of the second-half was set to be pivotal, but it was Kristian Woolf’s side who took the initiative and scored the first two tries after the restart through Peni Terepo and new Warrington signing Ben Murdoch-Masila.

Samoa threatened a comeback as Castleford’s Ben Roberts and Tim Lafai both scored, but Leeson Ah Mau’s late try ensured Tonga would prevail.

A full report will be in Monday’s League Express.

Samoa: Tonumaipea, Leutele, Lafai, Leilua, Maumalo, Junior Paulo, Tevega, Ese’ese, Papalii, Pritchard, Ah Mau, Roberts, Joseph Paulo. Subs: Brown, Musgrove, Lisone, Afoa.

Tries: Tevega, Roberts, Lafai

Goals: Lafai (3)

Tonga: Hopoate, Tupou, Jennings, Kata, Fusitu’a Lolohea, Hingano, Fifita, Havili, Taukeiaho, Ma’u, Manu, Taumalolo. Subs: Katoa, Moa, Terepo, Murdoch-Masila.

Tries: Jennings (2), Terepo, Murdoch-Masila, Ma’u

Taukeiaho (4), Hingano (2)