Brave Samoa falls short of World Cup 9s final
Samoa's dream run at the Rugby League World Cup 9s in Sydney has ended after Toa Samoa put up a gallant effort against tournament favourites, Australia, in the semifinal.
The Australians had their toughest game of the two-day tournament and prevailed, 25-8, to book a grand final showdown with New Zealand.
But the Toa Samoa men can be proud of themselves. They gave their highly fancied opponents a run for their money and were unlucky.
According to NRL.com, the Kangaroos enjoyed a perfect start when Kalyn Ponga burst onto lovely pass from Wade Graham to race 40 metres for a bonus-zone try with just over a minute gone.
"Samoa returned serve when Bunty Afoa showed he was a prop in a halfback’s body with a glorious 20-metre pass to gift Marion Seve four points," NRL.com reported.
"Some Josh Addo-Carr magic put Australia back on top, the winger somehow scooping a bouncing ball while tip-toeing down the sideline before grubbering inside for himself to score.
"Down 11-4 at half-time, Samoa needed to score first and did through the athletic Seve. But late tries to AJ Brimson and Tyson Frizell ended any hopes of an upset."
Prior to the semifinal, Toa Samoa claimed its third victory beating Tonga, 24-20.
According to NRL.com, Tonga scored first through Robert Jennings. But Samoa replied with some slick passing from Jarome Luai and Tim Lafai as Danny Levi found the line.
"The trend continued, with Sione Katoa crossing for Tonga and Dean Blore hitting back for Samoa, before the Samoans went ahead 18-10 late in the half with Levi rolling in a grubber for Ligi Sao to touch down behind the posts," NRL.com reported.
"A bullocking run from Moses Leota put the Tonga defence on the back foot, and Levi darted clear from dummy half to send Samoa 14 points clear. Some dazzling footwork from Fanitsei Niu kept Tonga within reach with a skillful solo try and a Tevita Pangai jnr effort narrowed the scores to two, but Tonga ran out of time as Samoa prevailed."
Earlier, Samoa overcame another Pacific team, Cook Islands. Samoa picked up where they left off on Friday, defeating Cook Islands, 17-4.
Samoa's points came through tries from Tim Lafai, Dean Blore and Marion Seve. Cook Islands only managed one try through John Puna.
On Friday night, Toa Samoa proved far too clinical when they defeated Fiji, 32-17, at the Bankwest Stadium.
NRL.com reported that the Penrith Panthers connection ran riot when Toa Samoa opened their campaign. This is what NRL.com reported about the game:
"Jarome Luai was the first on the board with a strong solo try in the second minute try and that was followed up by Moses Leota crossing under the sticks for a bonus zone try.
Fiji hit back when Maika Tudravu crossed in the right hand corner after Kevin Naiqama had butchered a try on the left hand side.
Tryscoring machine Brian To’o made it a Panthers trifecta of tries when he rounded out a powerful first half for Samoa by powering through four defenders. To’o then made it a double courtesy of good lead-up from Danny Levi and Joey Leilua before Leota got a double of his own.
A late try to Bankwest Stadium cult hero Maika Sivo gave the crowd what they came for but it was too little too late for Fiji."