Banged-up Manu swept away by France

By Thomas Airey 11 March 2019, 12:00AM

The Manu Samoa 7s will play for 5th in the Vancouver round of the World Rugby Sevens Series after slumping to a 35-12 defeat against France in the Cup quarterfinal.

Samoa looked tired in the loss, seemingly feeling the effects of losing Joe Perez and Melani Matavao to injury yesterday.

Murphy Paulo replaced Matavao in the starting seven, with only Danny Tusitala and Elisapeta Alofipo coming on as substitutes during the loss.

Samoa will play England in the 5th-8th semifinal at 11:46 am Samoan time.

A few missed tackles from Samoa let Gabin Villiere open the scoring for France with the first try of the game.

John Vaili then replied after he found some space out wide, and outpaced both his opposite winger and the sweeper to level the scores at 7-7 through four minutes of play.

France kept the ball for a long period, but Samoa’s defence held up well, and Tila Mealoi eventually got over the ball to win a penalty.

But France stole the ball back, and Villiere got his second on halftime with Samoa stretched in transition.

Samoa missed six tackles in the first period to just one from France.

When Jean Pascal Barraque scored easily from France’s second half kickoff, it became clear this was not going to be Samoa’s game.

Samoa did score next though, with Tofatu Solia bringing his country within nine points with two minutes left.

Captain David Afamasaga almost won the kickoff but knocked the ball on, and France were able to wind down the clock and advance the ball forward.

Man of the match Villiere set up Antoine Zeghdar for a try with with a clever reverse offload, and France were out of reach with just one more play to come.

Stephen Parez scored to complete the rout, adding insult to injury for a banged-up Samoa side.

By Thomas Airey 11 March 2019, 12:00AM

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