Strong start for Samoa at Hamilton Sevens

By Thomas Airey 25 January 2019, 12:00AM

The Manu Samoa 7s opened their Hamilton campaign with a big win over England.

It’s their 10th win in the first 13 games of the World Rugby Sevens Series, and sets them up well to push on and qualify for the Cup quarterfinals from Group B.

The team were wearing black armbands in a tribute to Faiva Tagatauli of the Vaimoso Rugby Club, who died on Thursday morning after an injury sustained during a club game last weekend.

Samoa played some of their best rugby during the game, and lead 12-0 going into halftime.

Joe Perez opened the scoring in his first appearance on the Series this year, finishing off a well built try.

Alatasi Tupou scored the second; a brilliant individual effort from a set piece.

The playmaker drifted across the English line, feigning a pass, before exploding into life and bursting past the defenders to dot down under the posts.

His defensive work was also impressive at sweeper, and Samoa were able to largely control the game through good kickoffs, effective tackling and incisive work at the breakdown.

A missed tackle from David Afamasaga let Tom Bowen score against the run of play early in the second half.

But Samoa didn’t panic, and continued to back their defensive structures.

Given the chance to advance the ball from within their own 22, Elisapeta Alofipo got himself isolated, and England quickly turned that attacking possession into another try.

But the conversion was missed, and Samoa held on to win 12-10.

The USA triumphed 29-7 over Tonga in the other Group B matchup, although star Perry Baker looked to be knocked out late in that game.

Samoa will play the USA at 3:44pm Samoa time, then Tonga at 7:44pm.

By Thomas Airey 25 January 2019, 12:00AM

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