Manu Samoa 7s have secured a solid 26-19 win over hosts, USA in their first pool game of the Los Angeles Sevens held at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
From the kick-off USA looked fired up and ready to take on the Cape Town Champions infront of their home crowd, but errors and a frustrated USA player throwing away the ball led to an early yellow card against the hosts.
Samoa capitalised with Paul Scanlan instrumental in Samoa’s 21 points in the first half.
On the 3rd minute, Scanlan threw USA’s defence off their heals with his brilliant footwork that got him through a needle of a gap to cross over for Samoa’s first 5 points of the tournament. He then converts his own try to make it 7-0.
Two minutes later the elusive Moataa Rugby Club backliner does it again. Scanlan makes a break by bouncing off USA defenders and ducking under tackles. Taken down within 5m of the tryline, a quick play of the ball to Neueli Leitufia puts the smallest man on the paddock over for Samoa’s second try.
Samoa wins the very next kick-off, perfectly placed by Faafoi Falaniko. The ball finds Motu Opetai and the power forward has enough speed to break away undefended for Samoa’s third try.
USA’s patience paid off before halftime, when their captain Campbell Williams crossed over and despite placing the ball down under the post, the conversion is missed and USA trail by 21-5 at halftime.
USA regrouped and came back after halftime to score two quick tries. Samoa’s 16 point lead suddenly became a two point lead at 21-19. USA was well and truly back in the game edged on by their home crowd.
Then the ball found Taunuu Niulevaea, and the 6’2″ 115kg 22-year-old makes a break down the sideline and is tackled a metre from the tryline. Tuna Tuitama was on hand to take the pop-up pass and close the try.
Unconverted, Samoa’s lead was now 26-19 and USA could still equalise with a 7-pointer.
The Manu Samoa 7’s showed solid defense, and in attack, the boys in blue looked to have brought in offloading to their game. An unexpected pass, however, forced a dropped ball and USA took back possession with seconds left on the clock. Samoa was back on defence but USA could not hold on to the ball.
In Samoa’s pool, New Zealand have beated Chile by 26-7.
Samoa will play Chile at 10:12am followed by New Zealand vs USA at 10:34am (Samoa Time).
Samoa are set to play New Zealand at 1:30pm.