Samoa's Hamilton Sevens hopes crushed

By Thomas Airey 25 January 2020, 9:25PM

Samoa's hopes of making the Cup semifinals of the Hamilton Sevens have now been officially crushed.

The team lost, 40-0, to Argentina in their second game of the Hamilton Sevens, and have little left to play for on Day Two other than pride.

They sit rock bottom of Pool D with two losses, and anything less than a win by 71 points against Australia on Sunday at 1:35 pm Samoan time will see them stay there.

Another loss by almost any margin will see the Manu Samoa 7s playoff to avoid the wooden spoon against the other worst fourth place team after pool play.

With Alamanda Motuga picking up an injury in the first game against Fiji, reserve Tuna Tuitama was called onto the bench while David Afamasaga stepped into the starting lineup for the first time this season.

Paulo Scanlan was also elevated to the starting lineup, with the out-of-form John Vaili dropping to the bench.

In a sign of what was to come, Argentina recovered the opening kickoff and went straight into Samoa’s 22.

Scanlan’s poor attempt at a tackle on Luciano Gonzalez was brushed aside, and the Pumas wing made it 7-0 with just over one minute played.

Argentina got the next kickoff back too, and Gonzalez was almost in again but got forced over the sideline by the cover defence.

Samoan had their first taste of possession with a lineout seven metres from their own line, and Argentina would’ve immediately stolen the ball back but for a knock-on.

They didn’t have to wait long though, as Samoa went one phase off the scrum before being penalised at the breakdown.

Luciano Gonzalez went in for an easy try on the opposite wing to make it 14-0 with four minutes played.

When Matias Osadczuk scored Argentina’s third try moments later, Manu 7s coach Sir Gordon Tietjens emptied his bench, seemingly unhappy with what his starters had offered up.

However the substitutes offered no spark either; the entire team looked and played tired from the game’s opening moments.

Only a knock-on prevented Argentina from scoring again in the final moments of a first half which saw Samoa miss more tackles (four) than make passes (three).

It was more of the same in the second, with German Schulz immediately going 60+ metres to continue the rout with the Puma’s fourth try.

Samoa finally mounted some sort of attack of their own, with Elisapeta Alofipo making a break over halfway. 

But Va’a Apelu Maliko forced a desperate offload which was knocked on in the very next phase, and Samoa went the entire match without even getting close to Argentina’s 22 metre line.

After Alofipo was yellow carded for a deliberate knockdown, Franco Sabato scored easily from an attacking scrum to make it 33-0 with two minutes left.

And having recovered yet another kickoff, Argentina put in a cross kick for Matias Osadczuk to get an easy second try and complete what was Samoa’s worst loss since they were beaten 40-0 by Fiji in February 2017 at the Sydney Sevens.


Rugby union
By Thomas Airey 25 January 2020, 9:25PM

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