Tonga have qualified for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan after finishing second to Fiji in the combined 2016-17 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup standings.
With Samoa failing to secure a bonus point in a 16-38 defeat to Fiji in the final match in Apia on Saturday, Tonga qualify for rugby’s showcase event as Oceania two and complete the Pool C line-up, joining England, France, Argentina and USA.
Samoa now face the prospect of a play-off against the winner of Czech Republic or Portugal versus the second-place team in the 2016-17 Rugby Europe Championship (excluding Georgia, who have already qualified) for a place in Pool A at Japan 2019.
Fiji, who last week booked their place at Rugby World Cup 2019, produced a fine performance to comfortably win a highly-entertaining match in Apia despite training 16-14 at the interval.
Henry Seniloli’s hat-trick, combined with tries from Jale Vatatuba and Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, secured a win that ensured that Fiji retained the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup.
It's a title they have held since 2015.
David Lemi, making his 50th test appearance for Samoa, was the home side’s only try scorer with a scintillating first-half finish.