Samoa make Hamilton Sevens quarterfinals

By Thomas Airey 26 January 2019, 12:00AM

Samoa are into the Cup quarterfinals at the Hamilton round of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

With two wins from three on Day One, Samoa will face South Africa at 12:58pm today/tomorrow having secured a top eight finish for the first time this season

They had to sweat on the final game in Pool B between the United States and England, with USA’s 19-5 victory leaving them first in the Pool with Samoa second and England third.

Danny Tusitala came into the starting lineup for Samoa for their third game of Day One against Tonga.

Samoa were looking for a big win to boost their points difference, but Tonga were competitive for much of Samoa’s 28-12 victory.

In fact the part-time Series competitors Tonga led possession, territory and line breaks in the match.

The leading try scorer on the Series Alamanda Motuga opened the scoring in the second minute with his 13th this season.

Captain David Afamasaga went over for Samoa’s second try with a minute remaining in the first half, but Tonga replied just before halftime to make the score 14-5.

Both sides knocked on when they should have been in to score, before another Tonga try took them within two points.

But Tomasi Alosio scored twice in the final minute of the game to confirm Samoa’s victory.

The men in blue lost to the United States, 34-14, in their second game.

The result was disappointing given the way they started against the Americans when they scored in the first minute from kick off.

Captain David Afamasaga was at the receiving end of some wonder running and passing to score their first try, which was converted by Alatasi Tupou.

But it was all USA from there with their opponents scoring four unanswered tries through Martin Iosefo, Madison Hughes and two from Carlin Isles before the break. USA was up, 7-26 at the half.

Isles scored his third try in the second half to extend their lead, 7-31.

John Vaili responded for Samoa with their second try, 14-31.

But it was not enough. Hughes kicked a penalty to complete the scoring, 14-34.

Earlier, 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.

By Thomas Airey 26 January 2019, 12:00AM

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