Heartbreak high as red card robs Samoa’s chance of Cup quarterfinal

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 21 July 2018, 12:00AM

They tried but they fell short, four points at that. 

And with that, Manu Samoa’s hopes of winning the Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco, U.S.A., have been dashed. 

Losing to England, 15-19, it was an emotionally fuelled clash where one of the strongest Samoan men, who had been their go-to-man, Belgium Tuatagaloa, was reduced to tears on the sideline where he could not contain himself.

Arguably one of Samoa’s best players, Tuatagaloa was sin binned over a questionable high tackle in the first half. 

What the referee termed a deliberate knock on in the second half, followed by another infringement when he saved a try, earned him a red card. He spent the last four minutes of the game with his head buried in his hands.

The men in blue though can hold their heads high. They might have lost the game – not helped by a number of dubious calls by the referee – but they played well.

They managed to get on the scoreboard in the first minute when Neria Foma’i broke some tackles to score their first try. Foma’i was on the receiving end of a pass from a strong Alamanda Motuga run. Alatasi Tupou missed the conversion, 5-0.

England hit back through a Phil Burgess try from a quick line out throw. Their second came moments later when Tuatagaloa was in the bin for the first time.

But the replay showed that Mike Ellery’s foot had landed on the touchline which means the try should not have been awarded. It was anyway and England headed to the halftime break, 5-12. 

Samoa started the second half like they did in the first. From the kick off, the ball was recycled and they found a gap on the right flank. The ball ended up in Tuatagaloa’s hands who found enough gas to score.

The conversion from Tupou was unsuccessful but the gap was reduced, 10-12. 

But then disaster struck for Samoa where Tuatagaloa sent off with a red card.

Still with six men down, Samoa showed plenty of fight in them.

But at that level against a quality side like England, it was only a matter of time before they pounced and they did that through Richard de Carpenter. The conversion from out wide was successful forcing Samoa to need two tries to win.

With time up on the clock, they could only muster one through Malu Falaniko. The try was unsuccessful and Samoa bowed out of the Cup contention.

In their first game, the Manu Samoa Sevens looked impressive demolishing Uganda, 45-7, today.

Samoa ran in seven tries to dash the hopes of Uganda who had little possession and ball. A man in the bin in the first half did not help their cause.

Joe Perez scored in the opening minute to set the tone of what was to follow. 

Belgium Tuatagaloa was inspirational, showing his experience as he motivated his team to go forward. 

Two tries from Neria Foma’i and Tuatagaloa gave Samoa a 19-0 buffer in the first spell.

Uganda scored just before half time to get their name registered on the scoreboard, 19-7.

At the break, coach Tietjens encouraged his men to continue what they did in the first half and asked them to score first in the second spell.

That’s precisely what they did when Alamanda Motuga powered his way to the line for their fourth try, 26-7.

Samoa continued their dominance with Laaloi Leilua and Murphy Paulo contributing with tries of their own. The last points came from Motuga’s second try to seal the 45-7 win. 

A final try from Falaniko was not allowed.

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 21 July 2018, 12:00AM

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