Fiji Warriors came from two points down at half time against the Blues Development XV to edge a thriller 16-14 and extend their lead over Samoa A at the top of the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup 2012 standings.
In the second round of matches comprising the New Zealand leg of the tournament, Samoa A went down 39-27 against the Highlanders Development XV. Tonga A suffered a fourth straight defeat, this time at the hands of the Crusader Knights.
Warriors defeat Blues
Even the involvement of Rugby World Cup 2011-winner Tony Woodcock, playing his first match since the RWC final, was not enough to steer the Blues Development XV to a win over Fiji Warriors at Bell Park in Auckland. The Blues lead 8-6 at half time via a James Semple penalty and a Junior Tofa Va'a try while Fiji prop Sete Somoca was in the sinbin. Kolinio Vunaki kicked two penalties in reply.
James Semple added a further penalty soon after the break to extend the Blues lead, before Warriors wing Watisoni Votu touched down to bring the scores level. Vunaki added the conversion before Semple edged the Blues ahead once again with his third penalty.
Replacement Jonetani Ralulu’s penalty after 65 minutes proved to be the last and decisive score as the Warriors held out to claim a 16-14 victory.
Highlanders overcome Samoa A
Two tries from Highlanders midfielder Shaun Treeby gave the Highlanders Development XV a narrow four point lead at half time against Samoa A side in Dunedin.
The Samoans stuck to their task and scored a couple of tries in the second half through Faleniu Iosi and Maselino Paulino, but Highlanders full back Hayden Parker, who kicked four penalties and four conversions, ensured the home team came out with the win.
Knights see off Tonga A
Crusader Knights flanker Jed Brown scored three tries as his team defeated Tonga A 58-6 at Rugby Park in Christchurch.
Tom Marshall, Tom Taylor and Willi Heinz figured heavily for the Knights, who fielded seven Super Rugby squad members.
Fiji Warriors will be looking to record their third win out of three on new Zealand soil in this year’s PRC when they take on the Chiefs Development XV on 17 March. Tonga A face the Highlanders Development XV and Samoa A take on the Hurricanes Development XV on 19 March to round off the New Zealand series.