Samoa overturned the world rankings as they defeated Fiji 54-43 to finish top of the Oceania Netball World Cup 2019 Regional Qualifier in Auckland - although both teams had already secured the two places for next year’s grand finale in Liverpool.
The young Samoan side, mainly comprised of players based in Australia or New Zealand, get together irregularly, but they showed cohesion in their final match at the HighWire venue in Papakura to defeat the side ranked 12th in the world rankings, three places above them.
Fiji, the only one of the five sides contesting this event to have played at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast earlier this month, needed only to have drawn today to have retained their top billing, given their superior goal difference.
But Samoa, who will now be competing at their eighth consecutive Netball World Cup from July 12 until 21 next year, never let them settle and had their reward for a dynamic performance.
Bottom team Tonga finished their campaign without any points after being beaten 79-44 by the Cook Islands.