Samoa make Vegas Sevens quarterfinals
Samoa are into the Cup quarterfinals at the Las Vegas round of the World Rugby Sevens Series, after a 26-19 win over Canada in their final game in Pool A.
They will play Australia at 4:30 pm Samoa time this afternoon, looking to at least match their best finish on the Series this year; 6th place in Hamilton.
The game started well for the Manu Samoa 7s, with Canada’s kickoff going out on the full.
From the restart, the ball found Elisapeta Alofipo out wide in space.
He opted to chip and chase, and got a hand to the ball first in the in-goal area to open the scoring 50 seconds in.
A few minutes later he scored from 80 metres out to make it 12-0, fending off to bust through the line before going around the sweeper with a massive sidestep.
Alofipo picked up what appeared to be a shoulder injury soon after though, and Canada took advantage to score just before halftime through Luke McCloskey.
He was replaced by Johnny Vaili, who scored with his first touch for the final play of the first half.
Tofatu Solia made a great run from the kickoff then offloaded to Vaili, who dotted down under the posts to give Samoa a 19-7 lead at the break.
Early in the second half, the referee awarded Canada a dubious penalty for offside.
They made the attacking field position count with captain Nathan Hirayama scoring.
When Samoa got the ball back, Melani Matavao took a tap penalty and went alone, getting himself isolated and losing the ball in their own half.
Samoa then overcommitted to the ruck on defence, giving Hirayama another try through Canada’s overwhelming numbers.
The score was now 19-all with just three minutes left to play.
Samoa responded with their best team move of the game, with Murphy Paulo and Matavao linking up to put Alamanda Motuga away.
It was the first try of the tournament for Samoa’s most prolific attacking weapon (15 tries in 24 Series games this year), and they’ll need him at his best over the games to come.
Samoa now had a seven point lead with 25 seconds left, but gave themselves a nervy finish after Joe Perez was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle.
They then won a penalty right under their own posts while hot on defence, and the game was over.