November 6, 2016 12:09 pm

Fijiana beat PNG to win inaugural Oceania Championship

Fijiana has beaten Papua New Guinea in the first ever Oceania Women’s Championship, outscoring PNG six tries to two to win 37-10 and progress to the final qualifying tournament for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. The visitors were very competitive in the first half and Fijiana led at the break just 13-5. After the […]

Fijiana has beaten Papua New Guinea in the first ever Oceania Women’s Championship, outscoring PNG six tries to two to win 37-10 and progress to the final qualifying tournament for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

The winning Fijian side.
The winning Fijian side.

The visitors were very competitive in the first half and Fijiana led at the break just 13-5. After the break PNG was first to score through an early try and the Fijiana lead was cut to just 13-10. However, Fijiana regrouped and a strong second half performance that included four tries was simply too much for PNG.

Fijiana centre Liliana Lawedrau scored two of her team’s tries in a standout performance, as did reserve prop Vilisi Vakaloloma. Fijians’ other try scorers were tighthead Esiteri Bulikiobo and reserve forward Makereta Tunidau. PNG try scorers were fullback Joanne Lagona and Number Eight Debbie Kaore.

The win puts Fijiana through to the final Women’s RWC 2017 Asia/Oceania Qualifier tournament in December in Hong Kong as the Oceania Champion. This tournament will feature two Asian qualifiers and Fijiana, with the two highest placed teams qualifying for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

The Fijian side performing the cibi.
The Fijian side performing the cibi.

It was a historic day for Fijiana playing its first test at home and captain Laillanie Burnes said, “It feels fantastic, you know it’s such a proud moment it’s a historical event for women’s rugby and women across all of Fiji. We want to say a big Vinaka Vaka Levu to the people of Fiji and to all those who believed in us.”

“We now have the WRWC qualifying in December. It is a tough road but you know what, we are going back into training to work even harder and make everyone proud. The next tournament in Hong Kong is another stepping-stone and we are going all the way to Ireland.”

Fijiana coach Seremai Bai said, “We still have a lot of work to do as we have had just three weeks together. I am proud of them, for them to come out and play like that in front of their home crowd. We were creating history today, not only for the players but also for us as coaches and management trying to put things together. I am really glad we have managed to qualify for Hong Kong, this really means a lot for the girls, their families, it was very pleasing.”

PNG coach John Larry felt his team’s discipline let them down while the scrum was also under a lot of pressure. Captain Margaret Naua said, “It was a really tough match. We just made too many errors, we were rushing our game too much. We needed to settle as we had a good first half but Fijiana finished much stronger.”

Fiji

1. Lailanie Burnes (Captain)
2. Pasemaca Buadromo
3. Esiteri Bulikiobo
4. Fuga Ofakimalino
5. Laisa Taga
6. Joma Rubuti
7. Mere Moto
8. Sereana Nagatalevu
9. Rejieli Uluinayau
10. Merewalesi Rokouono
11. Paulini Ravouvou
12. Talica Vodo
13. Litiana Lawedrau
14. Limaina Wai
15. Roela Radiniyavuni
16. Vlisi Vakaloloma
17. Mereoni Yabakidrau
18. Jowana Vuni
19. Makereta Tunidau
20. Sainimere Naleweniikataga
21. Tavaita Rowati
22. Mereani Moceituba
23. Wainikiti Deku

Papua New Guinea

1. Pamela Waringe
2. Jane Buku
3. Norah Wartovo
4. Isi Govea
5. Clara Biyamah
6. Melanie Kawa
7. Lynette Kwarula
8. Debbie Kaore
9. Victoria Kamen
10. Margaret Naua (Captain)
11. Nina Stein
12. Kymlie Rapilla
13. Marlugu Dixon
14. Cassandra Sampson
15. Joanne Lagona
16. Lorraine Pomat
17. Geua Larry
18. Tracy Stains
19. Harkana Dixon
20. Theresanne Daimol
21. Angela Parao
22. Helen Abau
23. Augusta Livuana

Match Ref – Alan Aioluptota (Samoa) male
Assistant Ref 1 – Avei Fa’alupega (Samoa) Female
Assistant Ref 2 – Nere Ululinacera (Fiji) Female