Samoa in control of Pool B, Fiji up next

By Thomas Airey 10 March 2019, 12:00AM

The Manu Samoa is looking to finish the day undefeated at the Vancouver Sevens.

The Manu Samoa 7s defeated Kenya 35-12, leaving them top of Pool B after two games at the Vancouver round of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

With Fiji losing 19-26 to Canada, there is now a possibility of a three way tie in the Pool after the third round of games.

After playing possession-based rugby in their win over Canada, Samoa switched to their more typical low-passing, physical style against Kenya.

They started brightly, with John Vaili fielding the kickoff then feeding Joe Perez, who ran all the way up the field to score, eventually dragging two defenders over the line.

It was Vaili who took the resulting kickoff for Samoa, with the back pumping the ball high and long into the air.

This appeared to be a deliberate strategy from Samoa, looking to pin the Kenyans deep in their own half and back their defence.

It paid dividends fairly quickly, with a Kenya knock-on gifting Samoa back possession.

Forward Tofatu Solia made a couple of strong carries, and when the ball was shifted wide Alamanda Motuga ran in Samoa's second try to make it 14-0 with three minutes played.

This time Kenya were able to advance the ball into Samoa's half, but Solia pinched the ball away in the tackle.

Perez stepped through the line and broke downfield, teeing up Vaili to score in a role-reversal from Samoa's first try.

At 21-0 with one minute remaining in the half, Samoa contested and won their own kickoff.

Tila Mealoi floated a lovely pass out to Perez on the wing, and the back scored his second try of the game right on halftime.

The strategy to back Samoa's defence looked to be a good one at halftime, with Kenya yet to get inside Samoa's 22.

They were able to pick their game up in the second half though, and a nice move should have ended in a try, but for a knock-on.

Halfback Mealoi ran around somewhat aimlessly from the scrum, eventually having the ball stripped to put Kenya in a strong attacking position.

Daniel Taabu scored to make it 28-7 with two minutes and 30 seconds played in the second half.

Substitute Johnny Samuelu knocked the ball on, and just like that Kenya had their second try in quick succession.

Kenya shifted the ball out to Taabu, who showed real pace to speed through the line untouched.

At 28-12 with three minutes left and Samoa starting to fall off tackles, Manu fans could have been forgiven for getting a bit nervous.

With just over a minute left, Kenya almost scored again but for a try-saving tackle from Perez to force the ball out of play.

Samoa then broke forward through Motuga, earning themselves a penalty inside Kenya's 22 with time almost up.

Motuga grabbed his second try after some nice offloading, and the victory was complete.

With a +54 points difference through two games, Samoa should advance to the quarterfinals tomorrow even if they lose to Fiji in game three this afternoon.

By Thomas Airey 10 March 2019, 12:00AM

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