Third place joy for Samoa

By Thomas Airey ,

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Manu topped their pool on Friday, beat Cook Islands in the quarter finals yesterday but lost to eventual Oceania 7s champions Fiji in the semis.

Manu topped their pool on Friday, beat Cook Islands in the quarter finals yesterday but lost to eventual Oceania 7s champions Fiji in the semis. (Photo: Oceania Rugby Twitter)

The Manu Samoa 7s prevailed over Australia in a see-saw 3rd place playoff at the Oceania Sevens in Fiji last night.

Samoa started the game well, as Kerisimasi Savai’inaea ran in the first try off a great inside line.

They then had the better of the play with Australia making regular mistakes.

But the Manu couldn’t capitalise, and Australia scored on halftime to pull within two points, 7-5.

Samoa didn’t make the most of their first half opportunities in the 36-7 semifinal loss to Fiji yesterday afternoon, and it looked as though a repeat could be on the cards.

Over the halftime break, heavy rain set in leading to a largely messy second half.

Both teams were fighting hard until some poor tackling from Samoa let Australia in for a try to take the lead with less than two minutes left.

Then from the kickoff, a line break and freak offload from Almanda Motuga put Malu Falaniko away for what would be the winning try.

There was one more nervous moment for Manu fans - the ensuing kickoff went out on the full, gifting Australia possession on halfway with the siren gone.

But Australia knocked the ball on, sealing the 14-12 win for Manu Samoa 7s.

Over the two day tournament Samoa lost just once, to eventual champions Fiji.

They will take that good form into the first round of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai next week.

Meanwhile the Manu Sina 7s recovered from a difficult first day to finish 5th in the women’s competition.

Australia won the women’s final over New Zealand 14-10.

Fiji beat New Zealand 17-12 in the men’s final after extra time.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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