IKALE TAHI vs MANU SAMOA RWC Qualifier Game 1
Pacific pride and a 2023 Rugby World Cup spot was on the line over the weekend when Ikale Tahi and Manu Samoa met at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
It was the first of two tests that will decide who will join Fiji^ at the RWC in the Oceania 1 at Rugby World Cup 2023 pool.
Fans were treated to pre-game performances by SAINTZ Mega Crew, from Mangere.
Polyfest 2021 crowd favourites Mangere College teamed up with 'Talents of the Pacific' to showcase Samoan & Tongan traditional dances, sights and sounds and then welcomed the teams to field with tamaiti of the Pasefika, from the
wider community of Auckland.
At half time, there was entertainment by Samoan hip hop artist Poetik.
Meanwhile ground announcer 'Jandals' & guest field MC 'Bubbah' kept the crowd hyped throughout the game with fans singing Samoan hymn 'Ua Fa'afetai' as the game wound down.
Final Score Samoa 42 - Tonga 13
At the end of the game ... it's all love
Rugby World Cup Fast facts:
* Samoa had not played a test since their 47-5 loss to Ireland at RWC 2019 and have a new coach, Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua who will be one of a select few to have played and coached in a Rugby World Cup if Samoa makes it through
* For the last RWC, Tonga qualified as one of the top-two ranked teams across the Pacific Nations Cup 2016 & 2017, finishing runners-up to Fiji and taking the Oceania 2 spot.
^ Fiji have already secured one of the 12 automatic qualification spots after their third-place pool finish at the last RWC.