Manu Sevens beat NZ to secure fifth place in Singapore

By Thomas Airey, 14 April 2019

The Manu Samoa 7s were bundled out of the Singapore 7s Cup after their 21-12 quarterfinal loss to South Africa. 

But the men in blue recovered and secured the next best placing for them, a fifth place finish after defeating New Zealand in a thrilling clash. The Manu Samoa Sevens won 19-17 scoring a try in injury time to take the match.

In the Cup quarterfinal, Samoa Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens sent out the same team that achieved second place in Pool D.

His team started the game brightly, but were overrun in the second half.

Laaloi Leilua broke three tackles in a good run, as part of some maintained possession for Samoa to open the game.

After a minute, Melani Matavao found himself isolated and conceded a turnover, but Tomasi Alosio did well to win the ball back.

John Vaili made a break and got five metres out from the tryline, and when he looked to offload Werner Kok took out the intended recipient before the got the ball, earning himself a yellow card with two minutes played.

Alamanda Motuga drew in the defence from the penalty tap, freeing up space for Melani Matavao to dot down close to the ruck and make it 5-0.

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Some more strong work at the ruck from Alosio saw him grab the ball when it squirted out, draw the sweeper and set up Matavao for his second.

Samoa then forced a knock-on from the kickoff with more good intensity around the breakdown, and at 12-0 with a minute left they looked to be in control.

But Matavao lost the ball after getting isolated again, and Impi Visser was able to score a converted try on the stroke of halftime.

With their first real continuous possession of the game, South Africa worked their way forward after taking the kickoff inside their own 22.

Playmaker Justin Geduld was key in the buildup, and he popped up on the end of an attacking move that saw the Blitzbokke take the lead.

With Samoa unable to catch the kickoff cleanly, South Africa had an attacking scrum around 35 metres out with four minutes left.

Selvyn Davids opted to chip and chase, and he was more urgent than Vaili in the in-goal area to force the ball down and score South Africa’s third try in a row.

Samoa came back at them with Vaili making a break and getting close, but when they shifted it wide to the other wing, Leilua was forced out by Kok, who has made more tackles than anyone else on the Series this year.

Samoa had one final chance, but Ryan Oosthuizen won a breakdown penalty to seal the win for South Africa.

At the time of going to press, Samoa had not yet played Argentina in the 5th-8th place semifinal.

By Thomas Airey, 14 April 2019

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