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Pacific Nations Cup Fiji edge Samoa for crown

The Pacific Nations Cup crown went the way of Fiji for a third successive year, as they held off Samoa in an entertaining final in Canada.

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Fiji edge Samoa for Pacific Nations Cup crown play

Fiji edge Samoa for Pacific Nations Cup crown

(Omni Sports)

Fiji completed a hat-trick of Pacific Nations Cup victories, holding off Samoa in the final 39-29 in Canada on Tuesday.

In an end-to-end contest at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, John McKee's men emerged victorious, scoring five tries to Samoa's three.

The Fijians got off to a flying start, crossing within 90 seconds of kick-off via Leone Nakarawa - who finished with a pair of five-pointers.

McKee's side were 10-0 up at the quarter-hour mark as Josh Matavesi (seven points) kicked his only penalty of the game.

Samoa's Michael Stanley kicked all of their points in the first half via three penalties, his first coming in the 18th minute - but Fiji's response was emphatic, as Nikola Matawalu crossed for their second try moments later.

Stanley's boot brought the deficit back to just eight points for Samoa by half-time, and a two-try blitz to start the second half saw Stephen Betham's men roar into the lead for the first time.

Jack Lam and Fa'atoina Autagavaia both touched down, and it sparked a stunning sequence of end-to-end rugby.

Fiji hit back via Nakarawa's second try to lead again, but Samoa wrestled back the scoreboard advantage when they converted a penalty after number 10 Stanley kicked the last of his four penalties to finish with 14 points.

Stanley had been awarded the penalty after being caught high in the tackle, and was holding his left shoulder afterwards as a result - having earlier seemed to injure his left hand.

Fiji struck back with consecutive tries just two minutes apart, each of full-back Kini Murimurivalu and captain Akapusi Qera crossing as they broke Samoa's resistance to open up a 12-point buffer.

Ben Volavola added the respective conversions, and also slotted a late penalty to tally seven points.

Autagavaia's second try brought Samoa back within a converted try, but Fiji - down a man late - held on to secure a third successive title.

Earlier in the day, Tonga held off a determined Japan 31-20 to finish third at the tournament for the fourth year running.

Japan finished in fourth, having earned a share of the 2014 title with Fiji.

United States went try-less, but relied on the boot of AJ MacGinty to deliver all their points as they edged Canada 15-13 to claim fifth spot.

MacGinty's 79th-minute drop goal saw them edge the valiant hosts, who were in the box seat after scoring the game's only try eight minutes earlier via replacement Nick Blevins.

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