A valiant effort from the Manu Samoa Sevens last night was impressive to watch but it wasn’t quite enough to give them a winning start in the opening of the H.S.B.C World Series.
The new look team under the guidance of coach Stephen Betham showed plenty of promise and guts to hold out a much more experienced England squad for much of the game.
In fact, with all the ball in the early stages, they looked quite comfortable at the outset.
In the end, however, they had to settle for 19-7 loss in their opening match of the Dubai Sevens.
Dan Norton and Dan Bibby led a superb fight back from England.
Samoa had much of the early pressure and Francis Ieremia eventually went over out wide for a score converted by Tila Mealoi after three minutes, for a 7-0 lead.
But England grew into the game and after captain Tom Mitchell switched play, Bibby broke out from deep in his half and found supporting speedster Norton, who raced away for his 211th World Rugby Sevens Series try, converted by Mitchell.
Norton then turned provider after the half-time, cutting inside and finding Bibby on a short line to give England a 14-7 lead at the break.
Coach Betham rang some changes after the half time and Samoa had some chances to equal the score.
But it wasn’t to be.
England showed a lot more poise and Bibby completed his double in the second period from a short lineout following a Norton break.