Samoa bow out of Cup Contention in Vancouver with loss to New Zealand

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The 40-5 displayed on the scoreboard was not expected given Samoa’s track record of 3 wins over New Zealand this season – but the All Blacks came out in full force in the pool stages, and had also taken out USA by 52-0 on Day 1.

In a post-match interview New Zealand’s Captain Joe Webber said Samoa has had the edge over them this season 3-2 and they wanted to equalise the score. “There’s been a lot of upsets, and we just can’t take any team for granted.”

Pooled with NZ, USA and Spain – Samoa came close to making the quarterfinals, by way of Spain almost beating USA. The points difference would have let Samoa through, had Spain not missed a conversion before the time clocked out.

This season is proving to be the most competitive in HSBC World Sevens Series history. On Day 1 in Vancouver, upsets included Uruguay beating two time Olympic Champs Fiji and Canada beating reigning World Series Champs, Australia.

Two Time Olympic Gold Medal winners Fiji defeated by Uruguay, Day 1 Canada 2023

Samoa now move to the 9th place semifinal to play the 4th place team in Pool D which would most likely be Chile.

Vancouver is the 7th tournament out of 11 for the 2022-23 World Sevens Series. The remaining tournaments are Hong Kong, Singapore, Toulouse and London. Samoa will need to advance to at least the quarterfinal stage in all four remaining legs, and make the semis or cup finals in at least two – to remain in contention for the Top 4 finish.

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There have been five different champions in the first six legs (Australia, South Africa, Samoa, Argentina and NZ), with NZ securing back to backs in Sydney and LA.

Also this season, the top teams have all failed to make the quarterfinals. New Zealand failed to make the quarterfinal in Hong Kong, Fiji didn’t make the quarters in Dubai, Australia placed 10th in Cape Town, and Argentina didn’t make the quarterfinals in Sydney after winning in Hamilton.

As this goes to publish, hosts Canada are cheering for Ireland to beat Australia in their final pool match. A loss to Australia means Ireland will advance with the hosts after Canada’s 29-12 win on Day 1.

Samoa will be looking to secure the 8 points up for grabs for 9th place. Their next match is the 9th place quarterfinal on Sunday 3:38pm – Samoa time.

Tautua available at SSAB Samoa or Sei Oriana in Auckland and their online stores.

Daniel M Limā