Samoa launched its World Rugby Under-20 Trophy campaign with a 34-25 win over hosts Kenya in their opening Pool B match at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Head Coach and former Manu Samoa 7s and 15s legend, Galumalemana Rudolf Moors selected a strong starting XV and his young troops stepped up with a solid team performance in what was an explosive game of two halves.
Manu Samoa 7s squad members playing at both wings provided the finishing touches with William Hunt in the no14 jersey scoring two tries while Paul Stanley on the left wing crossed over for Samoa’s first try.
Captain John Samuelu playing at lock led by example and crossed over with two tries of his own.
Samoa led 13-5 at halftime. Kenya scored first in the far left corner, only to have Paul Stanley snatched a loose ball and leveled the score 5-5 before Afa Moeli put a penalty over to take Samoa to the lead 8-5.
Samoa’s fullback Wally Tau Vesi was sin binned in the first half but Kenya failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage.
Instead the Junior Manu forwards used their physicality to secure good ball and William Hunt was able to cross over.
In the second half Kenya closed their deficit to 13-8 with a penalty but when they conceded a yellow card, Samoa’s captain went over for two quick tries to take the score to 27-8.
Kenya closed the gap to 27-13 when the Junior Manu conceded a yellow card via Benjamin Faavae. The Junior Manu would concede a second yellow card but worked just as hard to not allow Kenya to capitalise.
William Hunt went over for his second try to extend Samoa’s win to 34-13 before Kenya scored two more tries with one conversion to end the match at 34-25.
There are 8 nations vying for the spot to be relegated to the Under 20s Championship competition next year.
Pool A has Scotland, Uruguay, USA and Zimbabwe. Pool B has Samoa, Spain, Kenya and Hong Kong.
In other matches of the first round Scotland ran in 10 tries against Zimbabwe for a final score of 64-33. Spain thrashed Hong Kong 53-0 and USA were edged out by Uruguay 33-31.
Next up, Samoa plays Hong Kong.