22 Mar 2016

Sport: Fiji Warriors win 'emotional' Pacific Challenge final

12:32 pm on 22 March 2016

Fiji Warriors scored five tries and 36 unanswered points against Samoa A to complete an unbeaten fortnight and reclaim the Pacific Challenge rugby title in Suva on Monday night.

Fiji led 16-0 at halftime courtesy of a penalty try and another six-pointer from winger Lepani Raiyala.

Nacani Wakaya scored to extend the home side's advantage after 54 minutes before lock Mataiasi Ucutabua and centre Frederick Hicks scored within the space of three minutes to complete the rout.

Fiji Warriors celebrate winning the 2016 World Rugby Pacific Challenge.

Fiji Warriors celebrate winning the 2016 World Rugby Pacific Challenge. Photo: Fiji Rugby

Head coach Senirusi Seruvakula said he was proud of his new-look Warriors squad in securing a sixth title at this level.

"Especially more than half of the boys are new to the Fiji Warriors - this is their first year and their first cap and a lot of them are coming up from the pathway from the Under 20s," said Seruvakula.

"They showed what they are capable of and they proved themselves and it's a great achievement for the Fiji Warriors in 2016."

The Warriors wore black armbands during the final.

Fiji Warriors prop Iosefo Bele Tabalala, who died of a heart attack during the World Rugby Pacific Challenge.

Bele Tabalala Photo: Fiji Rugby Union

Seru Rabeni playing for Fiji against the All Blacks in 2002.

Seru Rabeni Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Seruvakula said it was fitting for Fiji to deliver such a strong performance in memory of the victims of Cyclone Winston, former team-mate Bele Tabalala - who died during last year's tournament - and the late Flying Fijians international Seru Rabeni.

"It was an emotional moment for the players before we went to the ground," Seruvakula said. "We had a team meeting and the boys were saying it's got to be meaningful because of what happened to one of our players last year, Bele.

"Also they will be out there as the Warriors fighting for their country because of the cyclone and the late Seru Rabeni so they were ready and putting their body on the line when they went out and just did the job."

Meanwhile Tonga A claimed third place in a high-scoring game against Junior Japan which ended 44-30.