Come back: Manuma Samoa dominates Tonga A

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 15 April 2024, 9:10PM

Manuma Samoa rose from its defeat in their opening Pacific Rugby Challenge match to smash past Tonga A 56-17 at Apia Park on Monday. 

Manuma Samoa's left winger, Owen Niue, scored the first try in the fifth minute followed by a successful conversion from fly-half Afa Moleli. 

Tonga A bounced back, with Kevin Aranui Trinity Tuaimei'api scoring from the scrum, bringing both teams to a tie. However, Manuma Samoa soon took the lead through a try from Tagiilima Ripene, who exploited Tonga A's gap, bringing the score to 12-7. 

The match tested the discipline of both teams, with Tonga A scoring a converted penalty kick, but Manuma Samoa took the lead back with another successful penalty kick, ending the first half with a score of 15-10. 

The second half saw Manuma Samoa's dominance, with Taitaifono Senio Tavita scoring the first try. Due to the intense game, substitutions were made throughout, with one player, Totoa Auvaa, carried out on a stretcher. Manuma Samoa's lead continued to grow, with successful penalty kicks and tries from Afa Moleli, Malaesaili Melato, and Owen Niue. 

Even with their captain on the subbed in the 62nd minute, Manuma Samoa continued to score tries, with substitute hooker Pitone Avito securing the last try.

Tonga A scored their first try in the second half before the 70th-minute mark, with Edward Malcom Whyte converting the try. 

Mailo Potumoe Leavasa, head coach of the Manuma Samoa, expressed his pride in the team despite not sticking to the game plan in the first half. Moving forward, the coach is now looking at resetting his team for the upcoming match against the Fiji Warriors.

"It's all about recovery and making sure these guys are 100 per cent. Now, our medical staff will focus on injuries and ensure that the players are 100 per cent for our first training. We'll also review Fiji's strength and the opportunity for us to win the games against Fiji," said Mailo. 

He added that his flanker who was taken in an ambulance was okay and that it was cramps. 

The match was witnessed by Moana Pasifika head coach Fa'alogo Tana Umaga, Japan's new Head Coach Eddie Jones, and Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua. 

In another intense match beforehand, Japan XV surprised the audience with a last-minute try on the corner against Fiji Warriors, winning 45-43. The last round of games will be on Saturday, 20 April, where the winning team will be crowned Pacific Challenge Champions of 2024. 

The next matches will be Tonga A taking on Japan XV and Manuma Samoa going up against Fiji Warriors at Apia Park. 

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 15 April 2024, 9:10PM
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