Fiji beat Samoa to qualify for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025

Fiji win back the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship title from Samoa after a 27-13 victory at Sunnybank Rugby Club in Brisbane on Sunday.

Fiji became the ninth team to qualify for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 after winning the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship 2024 with a 27-13 victory over reigning champions Samoa in the final match of the tournament in Brisbane on Sunday.

In winning their fourth title, Fiji avenged last year’s heart-breaking 19-18 defeat at the same stage of the competition and booked their place at a second Rugby World Cup, having made their debut in New Zealand in 2022.

However, they were pushed all the way by a Samoa outfit that took some time to get going having only played one match to Fiji’s two in the build-up following the cancellation of their first round match against Papua New Guinea.

Meanwhile, Tonga secured third place for the third consecutive year with a 39-5 victory over Papua New Guinea in the first match of the day.

Against a backdrop of joyful singing from her team-mates, Fijiana captain Merewai Cumu said at the end of the game: "I would like to thank the Lord for giving us strength throughout the game today.

"We’ve been preparing well just for this tournament for us to qualify. I’d like to thank the girls for a job well done for today and the coaching staff for trusting us throughout the whole tournament. We’ve had our ups and downs but I thank God for giving us the strength to keep fighting.

"I can say that the bond of the team is really strong. And you can see during the game, we play our own style and we’ve trusted each other. And we’ve just been training for this tournament, to win this competition so that we can qualify for the World Cup.

"I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy and that Samoa was going to come hard at us and you can see that just a few moments ago. I’m proud of the girls for keeping up the fight until the final whistle."

As the top two teams in the standings, Fiji and Samoa will compete in WXV 3 in Dubai later this year. The top six ranked non-qualified teams at the end of WXV will book their tickets to England 2025, giving Samoa another chance to make it to the game’s biggest stage.

Manusina captain Sui Pauaraisa was fighting back tears in her post-match interview.

“We have only just met together and trained for a week leading up to this comp so I am very proud of our girls," she said. 

“I just want to shout out to all our Samoan supporters here, it is really good to have them behind us, and our families back home. To have the whole of Samoa supporting us means so much to us.

“We didn’t get the win but I know we won the heart of Samoans.”


Fiji surged into 21-0 lead in a dominant first half an hour but Manusina rallied strongly and made a real game of it in the second half.

Manusina were under constant pressure from the off and Fijiana were rewarded for their total dominance of territory and possession when Doreen Narokete finished off an attack that swept from one side of the field to the other.

Fijiana’s next score came shortly after when Jennifer Ravutia powered through Samoan full-back Karla Wright Akeli from a tap penalty, which was also the source of their third try, scored by scrum-half Evivi Senikarivi.

With Luisa Tisolo converting all three tries, Fijiana found themselves in a commanding position but with five minutes of the half to go, Manusina managed to finally break free from the stranglehold.

Fittingly, it was powerful right-winger Linda Fiafia who got the try that was just reward for a sustained period of pressure. Good hands from a scrum in centre field saw the ball worked to Manusina’s most dangerous player and she did the rest. It was the first try that Fijiana had conceded in almost three-and-a-half matches.

Scoring just before half-time galvanised Manusina and they maintained the momentum after the break.

It took a couple of try-saving tackles from Adita Milinia, who showed up well again in attack in the first half, to keep them out, while their efforts were also hampered by a misfiring lineout.

Missed and stolen throws in promising positions saw countless opportunities spurned and, in the end, they had to be content with three points from the boot of Cassie Siataga.

However, they stuck to their task well and, in the 55th minute, their patience finally paid off when Tyra Boysen-Auimatagi hit a great line and charged over to make it 21-13.

Fijiana managed to come away with three points from their first meaningful attack of the second half, Tisolo continuing her 100 per cent record with a penalty from in front of the poles with an hour gone.

Even so, it was Manusina who continued to dominate possession and field position but they couldn’t find a way through a resolute Fijiana defence.

The game then ended with a late flurry of cards as tiredness crept in. Siataga and replacement front-rower Isadora Laupola were both sin-binned for Manusina within minutes of each other for high shots.

Having kicked another penalty to take the score out to 27-13, Tisolo then joined the Samoan pair in seeing out the match on the sidelines after receiving a yellow card for a no-arms tackle.


Outside centre Tonga Leilani Tuiaki scored a hat-trick as Tonga finished the tournament on a high after two heavy losses against Fiji and Samoa.

Openside Iunaise Fakahua had already crossed by the time Tuiaki scored her first try in test rugby in her seventh appearance on 14 minutes.

Tonga’s pack was on top and the backs were full of running and her second try and Tonga’s third came after a scrum penalty had been kicked to the corner. The forwards did the hard work up the middle before the ball was spread to the left and after ignoring two players outside of her, Tuiaki darted back on the inside to power over.

Full-back Loketi Mahoni combined well with winger Lesieli Tai for Tonga’s fourth on 32 minutes before Ayla Cook’s try from a strong carry and Mele Akolo’s conversion took the score out to 29-0 at half-time.

Captain Joanna Lagona had provided most of Papua New Guinea’s few positive moments and it was her crossfield kick at the start of the second period that led to their try. Tonga’s back-field defence didn’t deal with the threat and allowed the ball to bounce and Dorren Kaputin capitalised on the miscommunication to dot down. 

Tonga were struggling to find the same rhythm that they had in the first half and it took them until the hour mark before they scored again, Tuiaki completing her hat-trick after a brilliant out-the-back offload from replacement Shonte To’a.

Margaret Manase powered over for Tonga’s seventh try with a few minutes to go to round off the scoring.

Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 is coming to England. Register now to be the first to hear about tickets.

Last updated: Jun 2, 2024, 2:59:06 PM
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