After a tough loss, the Manu Samoa brushed off the loss against England and refocused all their attention on the challenge up ahead, New Zealand.
Within in the first minute after kick off, Samoa Toloa put Samoa ahead and scored the first try of the match. Capitan, Tila Mealoi converted the try which put Samoa in the lead 0-7, within the first few minutes of the game. The team proved they were out to win this game and redeem themselves from the last match.
Even though things were looking bright for the Manu, Toloa’s try would be the last try for Samoa in the first half of this match. New Zealand struck back with a vengeance and scored not one, but three tries. With two successful conversions, the score was 19-7 at half time.
New Zealand continued their momentum into the second half and scored another try within minutes after kickoff. With the score now 26-7,Betham quickly made substitutions and placed fresh legs on the pitch: Ed Fidow, Pheonix Hunapo-Nofoa and new caps , Gordon Langkilde and Lester Sefo.
With fresh legs on the pitch, the men in blue were able to hold off any more tries for the New Zealand side. Fidow played a crucial part of this match the moment he stepped onto the field and was finally able brake the dry spell and score a try for Samoa. Toloa followed up with another try within the next minute. Even though both tries were converted successfully by Mealoi, the Manu still fell short when the final bell rang , leaving the pitch with a final score of 26-21.
Finally, the Manu reached the final match and still unable to secure a win; the Manu finished off on a good note and defeated Russia, 17-15.
Betham reshuffled the starting lineup and started Hunapo-Nofoa and Fidow in the back line, who proved to be quite an asset in the last match.
Fidow demonstrated that he deserved the starting position as he scored the first try of the match within the first few minutes of the bell. The try was successfully converted by Mealoi and set the tone for the match.
However, Russia didn’t let Samoa have the lead for very long and scored a try within the following minute. Yearning to put themselves ahead before half, Mealoi scored the final try of the first half leaving the pitch in the lead with a score of 12-5.
Continuing their momentum into the second half, Hunapo-Nofoa scored another try for the Manu. Desperate to stop the momentum of the men in blue, Russia made several substitutions and it wasn’t until late into the second half that Russia found their footing and made a tremendous comeback. After they a scored a try , a yellow card for Toloa gave room for Russia to follow it up with another try. The Manu was saved by the bell and secured their first win of the H.S.B.C Series.
The Manu Sevens will now be advancing to the quarter finals against Uganda today at 7:52pm.