The Manu Samoa Sevens have achieved their goal of reaching the Cup playoffs of the Hamilton leg of the H.S.B.C. International Sevens.
The team bounced back from a disappointing loss to Kenya to beat U.S.A. and Canada to book their quarterfinal berth.
Samoa went into their last game of the Pool against Canada needing to secure a win by a margin of ten points.
They couldn’t quite manage that but the 22-14 victory was enough to finish second in the pool. Kenya finished first.
Playmaker Murphy Paulo opened Samoa’s account against Canada, sneaking the ball from a ruck with a good fake dummy pass to score.
Paulo again played a hand in the second try which was scored by Foma’i Neria.
Forward David Afamasaga added another five pointer for Samoa under the post just before halftime, giving Samoa a healthy lead going to the break.
Samoa’s last try came from the Captain Tila Mealoi picking up a loose ball from Samoa’s ruck and running some 60metre to score.
It was a lot easier than the titanic struggle they had earlier against the U.S.A.
A last minute length of the field try sealed victory. After losing their first game to Kenya, all hopes looked lost when the U.S.A. led with less than a minute to go in their second pool game.
But cometh the hour cometh the man and he was none other than Laaloi Leilua who showed a clean pair heels to outsprint U.S.A’s cover defense down the left flank to score the winner.
The Manu Samoa drew first blood through a brilliant individual try from Murphy Paulo who showed determination to bust through the line to dot down.
But the Eagles came back through Pickleman, before the break.
With their tails ahead, 7-5, coach Sir Tietjens wanted them to continue.
But that quickly changed when Perry Baker scored for the U.S.A., giving them a 10-7 lead with time winding down.
The U.S.A threatened Samoa’s line in the last minute of the game but this time, the ball bounced Samoa’s way. It was cycled through a number of hands before it reached Leilua who was unstoppable.
The conversion was successful and Samoa won the match, 14-10.