David Lemi scored two tries as Samoa stayed unbeaten in the Pacific Nations Cup with a 29-26 win over Fiji, while Tonga won 24-20 to inflict a second loss on defending champion Japan in the second round on Sunday.
Samoa followed its 20-18 first-up win over Tonga with an impressive win against Fiji to top the standings in the four-nation competition. Both teams scored three tries, but flyhalf Ki Anufe led Samoa to victory by contributing 14 points from a conversion and four penalties.
Tonga outscored Japan three tries to two to post its first win of the tournament following an outstanding individual performance from Japan fullback Ayumi Goromaru, who scored a try in totaling 15 points.
After trailing 17-10 at half-time, Japan began the second half strongly, splitting the Tonga defence with a bullocking run by first-half try-scorer Hendrik Tui.
Japan was awarded a penalty and Goromaru lined up a relatively easy kick from 25 meters. His attempt hit the post, and before the Tongan defenders could react, the 26-year-old fullback dashed in, grabbed the rebound and scored. He added a conversion from close to the spot from which he had attempted the penalty to tie the scores at 17-17.
Paula Kaho scored the winning try for Tonga after both sides had defended doggedly. Flyhalf Kurt Morath added the conversion to lift Tonga to a 24-17 lead after previously converting tries by Alaska Taufa and Taniela Moa.
Goromaru kicked a late goal to finish with a try, two conversions and two penalties.
The match between Samoa and Fiji was also a see-sawing contest.
Setariki Koroilagilagi opened the scoring for Fiji with a third-minute penalty before Anufe leveled with his first penalty two minutes later.
Nemia Kenatale scored the first try of the match and Koroilagilagi converted to give Fiji a 10-3 lead, which became 13-6 after Koroilagilagi and Anufe exchanged penalties.
But Samoa rallied with a 26th-minute try to Alafoti Faosiliva, converted by Anufe, then took control of the match with tries to Lemi in the 29th and 51st minutes. Samoa led 18-13 at half-time and 23-13 after Lemi's second try.
Fiji closed to within five points at 26-21 with a try to Netani Talei and, after a penalty by Anufe, scored a further try through Tuapati Talemaitoga a minute from fulltime, but it was too late to change the course of the game.
Scorers and scorers:
Fiji 26 Samoa 29
Tries: Nemia Kenatale, Netani Talei, Talemaitoga Tuapati
Cons: Setareki Koroilagilagi
Pens: Setareki Koroilagilagi 3
Tries: Ben Masoe, David Lemi 2
Con: Ki Anufe
Pens: Ki Anufe 4
Japan 20 Tonga 24
Tries: Hendrik Tui, Ayumu Goromaru
Cons: Ayumu Goromaru 2
Pens: Ayumu Goromaru 2
Tries: Alaska Taufa, Taniela Moa, Paula Kaho
Cons: Kurt Morath 3
Pen: Kurt Morath
Sources: AP & AFP