In Samoa’s eyes, it was a cover tackle that “typified their spirit”.
But according to Tonga coach Kristian Woolf, Samoans Frank Pritchard and Sam Kasiano’s last gasp match-saving effort typified a penalty.
But one thing was certain in the aftermath of Samoa’s thrilling 18-16 win over Tonga – Pacific Tests should be here to stay.
Samoa coach Matt Parish could not hide his pride after Pritchard and Kasiano combined to defy Jorge Taufau’s match-winning try in the 78th minute.
Taufau looked set to clinch his third try – and the match for Tonga – when he set sail down the sideline, only for the Bulldogs brutes to clobber him into touch.
“It was fantastic, wasn’t it?” Parish gushed, slapping nearby captain Pritchard on the shoulder.
“That tackle typified their spirit and what it meant to play tonight.”
But Woolf cut a frustrated figure, saying Kasiano should have been penalised for a flying shoulder charge on Taufau.
“We were probably a bit unlucky with a couple of things – that try in particular I thought at least deserved a penalty,” he said.
“I thought there was shoulder (from Kasiano).”
Woolf also wasn’t happy with Dominique Peyroux not being penalised for a high shot on Tongan centre Konrad Hurrell in the dying seconds.
Pritchard did not want to dwell on negatives after their stirring win.
“Samoans are very passionate,” he said.
“We just dug deep. That cover tackle just lifted our spirits – it typified what type of game it is.
“We came away from that game with our heads held high.”
Parish’s grin vanished though when asked if the Pacific Test weekend – also featuring the Fiji-Papua New Guinea clash – should be an annual event.
“It depends on whether international rugby league want just three teams in their World Cup every year,” Parish said.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that these teams can compete with Australia, New Zealand and England if they had a fair rub of the green.”
Pritchard had already covered himself in glory when he crashed over in the 56th minute to level the scores 14-all.
Tonga again edged ahead 16-14 with a 65th minute Solomone Kata penalty.
But Samoa weren’t to be denied thanks to Peyroux’s 70th minute jinking try and Pritchard and Kasiano’s heroics.