Samoa crash out of Vancouver Sevens on Day Two

By Thomas Airey, 11 March 2019

Samoa’s Vancouver Sevens campaign has ended early after a 33-14 loss to England in the 5th place semifinal.

They took 10 competition points from this most recent World Rugby Sevens Series tournament, enough to keep them in 7th place in the overall standings through six of 10 rounds.

Manu Samoa 7s coach Sir Gordon Tietjens opted to bring Maauga Iamanu and Danny Tusitala into his starting seven for the game against England, replacing Murphy Paulo and Tila Mealoi.

Tusitala started the game brightly, bringing play inside the attacking half with a nice run.

Alamanda Motuga got close to the tryline, but England turned the ball over after tackling him.

They kicked clear, and Motuga lost the ball again sparking a counter for England.

Dan Norton got the ball and sped away for the first try of the game.

Samoa built a nice attack in reply, and John Vaili stepped through the line, and offloaded to Tofatu Solia for a try.

England scored straight from the kickoff though, with Phil Burgess going over after a break that was all too easy.

Motuga lost the ball in possession for a third time, giving England the final say of the first half.

Samoa’s defence held up for phase after phase, but eventually cracked and Richard de Carpentier scored to make it 19-7.

Substitute Elisapeta Alofipo scored directly from the second half kickoff to give Samoa life, but Charlton Kerr replied for England to increase the deficit back to 12.

England won a rare sevens rugby tighthead scrum, earning themselves a penalty.

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A sharp set play set Tom Bowen free out wide, who at first looked to have only been denied by a great try-saving tackle from Alofipo.

But it was rightly ruled a high tackle, and the referee awarded England a penalty try.

Debutant Gasologa Pelenato got the first minutes of his Series career as time expired, in what was one of very few silver linings for Samoa on Day Two.

Earlier, the Manu Samoa 7s slumped to a 35-12 defeat against France in the Cup quarterfinal.

Samoa looked tired in the loss, seemingly feeling the effects of losing Joe Perez and Melani Matavao to injury yesterday.

Murphy Paulo replaced Matavao in the starting seven, with only Danny Tusitala and Elisapeta Alofipo coming on as substitutes during the loss.

A few missed tackles from Samoa let Gabin Villiere open the scoring for France with the first try of the game.

John Vaili then replied after he found some space out wide, and outpaced both his opposite winger and the sweeper to level the scores at 7-7 through four minutes of play.

France kept the ball for a long period, but Samoa’s defence held up well, and Tila Mealoi eventually got over the ball to win a penalty.

But France stole the ball back, and Villiere got his second on halftime with Samoa stretched in transition.

Samoa missed six tackles in the first period to just one from France.

When Jean Pascal Barraque scored easily from France’s second half kickoff, it became clear this was not going to be Samoa’s game.

Samoa did score next though, with Tofatu Solia bringing his country within nine points with two minutes left.

Captain David Afamasaga almost won the kickoff but knocked the ball on, and France were able to wind down the clock and advance the ball forward.

Man of the match Villiere set up Antoine Zeghdar for a try with with a clever reverse offload, and France were out of reach with just one more play to come.

Stephen Parez scored to complete the rout, adding insult to injury for a banged-up Samoa side.

By Thomas Airey, 11 March 2019

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