Manu Sevens book showdown with England

The Manu Samoa Sevens have finished second in Pool A at the Hong Kong round of the World Rugby Sevens Series, and will play England in a Cup quarterfinal on Sunday.

Their final pool match 21-7 loss to South Africa confirmed the second place finish, with the Blitzbokke topping the pool.

Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens rung the changes for the game with a quarterfinal spot already locked up.

Johnny Samuelu, Siaosi Asofolau, Tomasi Alosio and Elisapeta Alofipo all came in to start in place of Melani Matavao, John Vaili, Tofatu Solia and Laaloi Leilua.

Samoa looked to keep possession early in the game, passing the ball back and forward in and around their own 22.

Then Alamanda Motuga made a strong carry up to halfway, before losing the ball at the breakdown.

South Africa’s excellent ruck-work was a theme throughout the game, and this helped them contain Samoa’s attacking threats.

After the turnover they built a patient attack of their own, before a spectacular miss pass from Werner Kok set up Impi Visser for the opening try with four minutes played.

That was the only score of the first half, with both defences dominating.

An early knock-on for South Africa gave Samoa a scrum in the Blitzbokke half, however they again pinched the ball back at the breakdown.

Playmaker Justin Geduld scored after selling a dummy to Tomasi Alosio, and at 14-0 with five minutes left, a tired looking Manu Samoa 7s had it all to do.

They built another patient attack, but South Africa’s defence held resolute.

After another breakdown steal, Kok broke away for a long range try to make it 21-0 with two and a half minutes remaining.

Samoa finally scored through Tomasi Alosio after the hooter, and while they were well beaten by the Blitzbokke they still have all of Day Three to look forward to with a top eight finish confirmed.

The cup quarterfinal against England will be played at 4:42 pm (Samoan Time) Sunday.

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