Samoa winless in Hamilton Sevens pool play

By Thomas Airey 26 January 2020, 5:00PM

Samoa will play to avoid the wooden spoon at the Hamilton Sevens having lost all three of their games in Pool D.

Losses against Fiji and Argentina on Saturday and a 19-33 loss to Australia on Sunday gave the Manu 7s a points difference of -61, seeding them in the competition’s bottom two.

They will play Wales at 6:10 pm Samoan time to try and avoid coming last at a World Rugby Sevens Series tournament for the first time since June 2018.

Looking to spark something for his team’s final pool game, head coach Sir Gordon Tietjens injected Losi Filipo and Elisapeta Alofipo into the starting lineup.

Things started well for the Manu when Tomasi Alosio’s kickoff went out off of Australia for an attacking lineout just shy of the 22 metre line.

Alofipo made an immediate impact with some good stepping and a nice run on the first phase of the game.

Joe Perez lost the ball a couple of plays later going into contact, but when it spilled out of the subsequent ruck, David Afamsaga picked it up for an easy try in the second minute.

Skipper Alosio’s kickoff went out on the full, and Australia added to their field possession by earning a penalty at the breakdown.

They kept the ball a long time before Josh Turner showed great strength to get the ball over the line through a Losi Filipo tackle, making it 7-7 in the fifth minute.

Samoa then recycled the ball through some patient phases themselves before Joe Perez opened up the defensive line.

He fed Elisapeta Alofipo to score in the corner, making it 12-7 with one play remaining before halftime.

Australia pushed up to the 22 metre line after another Samoa penalty, and Josh Turner was able to stroll in under the posts past a tired-looking Manu 7s team, making it 14-12 at the break.

Samoa got the ball over halfway to start the second half, with Va’a Maliko throwing a nice offload to Tomasi Alosio for a half-break.

But Maurice Longbottom stole the ball for Australia at the ruck, and Joe Pincus went in for an easy try while some Manu players failed to play to the whistle.

Samoa drew back within two points in the 11th minute when Tofatuimoana Solia picked the ball up from the ruck and muscled through for a try.

Australia put the result beyond doubt with a minute remaining, showing some nice buildup play before Joe Perez tried to put a big shot on Josh Turner and missed, letting him run in for his hattrick.

They got the kickoff back too, and Lewis Holland put the cherry on top with a stunning skip pass to Maurice Longbottom which saw him run in Australia’s fifth try.

In other news, Manu Samoa 7s forward Alamanda Motuga’s Day One injury will see him miss about eight weeks of rugby, a period which includes the Sydney, Los Angeles and Vancouver legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Reserve Phillip Luki will join the squad for Sydney next weekend.


Rugby union
By Thomas Airey 26 January 2020, 5:00PM

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