Samoa and Fiji have secured big wins against their Mediterranean opponents at the Rugby League World Cup 2022 in England.
Premiership-winning Panthers Jarome Luai and Brian To’o carved Greece to bits as Samoa claimed a comprehensive 72-4 victory to put their World Cup campaign back on track.
Eight days on from being humbled by England in a 60-6 loss, Samoa piled on the points in Doncaster, with Luai setting up five tries on his way to player of the match honours, while To’o had a colossal 370 run metres, with 17 tackle busts thrown in for good measure.
Samoa led 42-0 at the break, and the game was effectively over within the first 20 minutes, with Samoa 12-0 by the time Greece touched the ball for the first time.
The Matt Parish-coached side ran for 2409 metres, while restricting Greece to 847, with 75 tackle breaks across the 80 minutes.
The win means Samoa will advance to the quarterfinals if they can beat France in their final group game, something which had looked far from certain after they were trounced by England first up.
“We played pretty well which is good and it was an improvement on last week, which we hoped to do. It’s knockout next week… no doubt the French game will be massive,” said Samoa coach Matt Parish.
“Samoa were always going to come back after last week’s disappointing loss to England, but our boys, the effort was there… the scoreline didn’t really reflect how much effort was put in.” said Greece coach Steve Georgallis.
Samoa face a must-win match against France, with a victory seeing them through to the quarter-finals, while host nation England awaits Greece in the final round of group play.
Meanwhile, a first half double from departing Panthers forward Viliame Kikau and a second half double from Eels winger Maika Sivo has paved the way for a dominant Fiji to secure their first victory of this year’s World Cup with a 60-4 win over Italy.
After going down against Australia in their opening game of the World Cup, the Bati raced out of the blocks against the Azzurri with three tries in the opening 15 minutes paving the way for one of Fiji’s biggest ever wins on the international stage.
Kikau was one of many who shone in the first half blitz by Fiji, bagging his first international double since 2019, while young fullback Sunia Turuva continued to show his bright future with a number of impressive touches.
The result puts Fiji in the box seat for a spot in the knockout rounds, with Joe Dakuitoga’s side needing to defeat Scotland to progress through to the quarterfinals should Australia do the job as expected against Italy in the other pool match.
“Our defence really led the way; we didn’t give them any points and stuck to our game plan and our defence won us the game at the end of the day. Everything is looking good, but we need to keep working on ourselves. Rugby league is a simple sport: we need to work on the small things and progress in the game against Scotland and see how we go from there. We’re Fijians, wherever we go we are always relaxed so the boys know what the job is,” said Fiji assistant coach Wise Kativerata.
Fiji plays against Scotland in Kingston Park, Newcastle at 4am (Fiji time) tomorrow.