Manu Samoa 7’s have finished their 2022/2023 season on a high note by defeating New Zealand 24-19 in the bronze medal match in London.
Samoa came into the match having lost their last 8 bronze medal finals – and broke that drought to finish strong.
The determination to end this streak came by mounting a 14 point comeback against the World Series Champions.
New Zealand got off to a hot start scoring two tries to lead 14-0. Samoa answered with two tries of their own before halftime to high schooler Malakesi Masefau for a halftime score of 14-12.
After the break Co-Captain Melani Matavao crossed over for a try in the 11th minute. He converts his own try to put Samoa in the lead 19-14.
But Samoa’s lead was equalized 19-19 by the All Blacks after a Che Clarke try in the corner with just seconds remaining.
As time expired Fa’afoi Falaniko stole the ball in the breakdown for Samoa and a simple offload to Taunu’u Niulevaea released the big man away to score the winning try.
Samoa have ended a long and gruesome season with a bronze medal win in London, and 6th overall in the World Series.
At the post match interview Samoa’s Head Coach Muliagatele Brian Lima said he was disappointed with missing out on automatic Olympic qualification but was proud of his young side for finishing the season with a bronze medal win.
“I’m very proud of the boys and happy that we have finished the season off on a high note.. Congratulations to New Zealand for winning the title..”
It is the first full season of the World Series for Muliagatele Brian Lima and his Assistant and former MS7s Head Coach Tausa Faamaoni Lalomilo. The season has seen a record number of homegrown local players from Samoa make their debut and feature in the international arena.
Muliagatele’s travelling management team of just 5 includes former Chamber President, Tuala Leaega Pat Leota as Team Manager. Also in the Management is Harry Junior Narayan as Video Analyst / Every other role that is not filled; and Physiotherapist Nathan Foulagi.
Samoa gets a chance to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics at the Oceana 7s in November this year. The qualification will not include Oceania members New Zealand, Fiji and Australia who have all already qualified.