Manu Samoa 7’s have kicked off the 2022/2023 HSBC World Sevens Series with a dominant 24-0 win over the New Zealand All Blacks.
Samoa were drawn into the pool of death for the Hong Kong 7’s, matched off with defending champions Australia, Pacific rivals New Zealand and host nation Hong Kong.
With a pool like this there was no room for error if Samoa want to make the quarter-final stages.
And Muliagatele’s young side made no mistake about putting the much better resourced New Zealand All Blacks to rest.
The start to the match was a messy one by both sides.
Neither team could get a grasp on the rugby ball with errors going both ways.
Then New Zealand’s Moses Leo got himself sent off with a yellow card after a high tackle on Samoa’s star 21 year old from Vaiala, Steve Rimoni Onosa’i.
This shifted in Samoa’s favour just before the halftime hooter.
With a one player advantage, Samoa scored the first try of the match when Captain-Extraordinaire Melani Matavao scooped the ball out of the scrum and strolled over in the corner with no black jerseys to be seen.
Leading 5-0 at halftime was not going to be enough.
The difference between the two sides came down to errors.
With 3 minutes left in the match, Samoa had only made two errors and conceded just one penalty whilst the Kiwis had made 6 errors and conceded 4 penalties.
With a plethora of possession, the Men in Blue scored first after halftime via Va’a Apelu Maliko, continuing his try scoring antics from last season.
It was a simple quick tap, followed by a dive over the line.
The Kiwis finally built some pressure and looked to put some points on the board but they were categorically denied by Samoa with a long clearance kick by Melani Matavao.
New Zealand gathered nicely but again threw a terrible pass that found the hands of Paul Scanlan who then also strolled over for Samoa’s third try.
Now leading 17-0 with less than a minute to go, Samoa knew they had the match in the bag and so out came the confidence!
Steve Onosa’i put a casual chip over the top of the New Zealand defenders. He gathers the ball again and put the nail into the coffin to make it 22-0.
The result is an impressive start for the Manu Samoa 7s given that 11 of the 13-man squad for Samoa, have never played in Hong Kong before.
Samoa’s next match is against Australia at 7pm Saturday night Samoa time.
Manu Samoa 7s is sponsored by the International Business Finance Company – IBFC.