14 June 2019, ACP Stadium, Lotopa Apia Samoa. The Aana Chiefs are through to the PPS Super 9 national rugby championship after a close encounter with the Savaii Vikings, winning 31 – 22.
The match at started off tense with players of both sides looking to have taken some of the tension from pre-match issues that arose from the eligibility of Sevens players to participate in the match.
In the first 10 minutes, both props from the Aana Chiefs were given yellow cards for infringements.
The Aana Chiefs led 15-10 at half time and the match was held at this score for the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Speaking to Samoa Global News, the Manager of Aana Chiefs Louis Ofele Lene thanked their sponsors and supporters and said that this was the first match all season, where the players executed the game plan.
“We’ve been inconsistent all season but today, the boys turned up; our set pieces, our lineouts, our patterns of play all worked out today and the boys played with heart,” he said.
“Everyone played well. The forwards had a big game and our backs were able to finish off well today.”
Of the issue of players like Johnny Vaili being declared unable to play, Lene said that their team only had 23 players because of injuries sustained throughout the season.
“We only had 23 players today, so when our two 7s players couldn’t get on the field, we actually were then short, and even I was being considered to put on one of the jerseys.”
Backs Coach for Vikings George Mariner congratulated the Chiefs and said their mistakes in decision making and options taken cost them.
“All credit to the Chiefs, their halfback Pupi played a massive game today and he really caused disruption and exposed our mistakes in the ruck area.”
Head Coach of Manu Samoa Steve Jackson was seem approaching players after the game, chatting with Chiefs captain Afa Aiono about the Rugby World Cup squad.
The Aana Chiefs will play the winner of the second semi final between Taula Eels and Navigators.