Samoa starts strong in mixed Pacific Games touch rugby
Samoa has beaten Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Tonga in day one of the three day mixed touch tournament in the 16th Pacific Games.
They took out Fiji 7-4 and coasted past the Solomon Islands 16-2 before finishing on top of Tonga 11-4 in the afternoon.
Samoa, the Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea have come out undefeated from day one, promising interesting matches come Friday morning.
The home team faces the Cook Islands at 10:10 and Papua New Guinea at 12:40 on Friday. It will be a challenge playing the tough defending champions with just 90 minutes between matches.
Coaches George Esoto and Faiumu Gus Leilua said the morning’s games basically went well.
“It was good, we were trying to stick to the patterns we worked on, we didn’t try anything else we just wanted to see how it works, and it really showed on the scoreboard,” said Esoto.
“It’s good to know everything is working well.”
He said the team has been working on building the women’s confidence, which showed in the game.
Tonga tried but couldn’t hold their own against Samoa on a mission to succeed.
The Fiji-Samoa fixture was not guaranteed until the second half, where they were both on two points as the horn blew. But Samoa swept ahead to score another five times before the match ended.
Esoto said it was a tough start to the day, which didn’t go exactly as planned. But by the Solomon Islands match the team had stepped up.
The top scorers of the day so far are Filoi Eneliko, who scored three times against Fiji and twice against the Solomon Islands.
Michael Rasmussen and Lerrisa Fong delivered three touchdowns each against the Solomon Islands.
“Everyone did their job equally,” Esoto said.
“It’s always the off ball work that really counts.”
The team is not changing, though they are allowed to swap players, in order to build up for the finals on Saturday, “when it actually matters,” he added.
Semi-finals are Friday at 4pm, and teams will be sent off to rest before the finals for bronze and gold medals begin at 10:10am Saturday morning.
Fifth and sixth place will play off against each other at 9:20am.
Samoa’s mixed touch rugby team is: Michael Rassmussen, Arran Rogers, Etevise Vaifale, George Komiti, Tasi Cordtz, Filoi Eneliko, Eteuati Togiatoamai, Jedidiah Fagasua, Miriama Lote Lima, Lafaele Leuta-Malo, Elizabeth Lydwina, Lerissa Fong, Peter Hazelman, and Uanita Vaaga.
Their reserves are: Sabrina Reupena, Samantha Rogers, Gregory Hazelman and Darren Aofia and Samoaautasi Tolovaa.