Samoa Edge out Australia and Ireland to Finish 5th in Sydney


Manu Samoa 7s have secured 5th place in Sydney after two solid wins to Australia (24-10) and Ireland (24-12) on day three.

With valuable World Series points on the line, the Samoans came out flying and scored two brilliant first-half tries through speedster Tuna Tuitama and Samoa powerhouse Taunuu Niulevaea.

Samoa took full advantage of being 7-6 up on Ireland who lost a man to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle on Tuitama.

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Ireland were first on the score board after half-time when they found a gap in the Manu’s defense to narrow Samoa’s lead to 12-5.

Samoa looked to answer back with a chip and chase by BJ Telefoni Lima, but the Manu couldn’t string their attack together in Ireland’s red zone.

A turnover ball saw Ireland put in their own kick down the field. Samoa was caught without a sweeper and without a chaser, Ireland crossed over for their second try to make it 12-12.

From the restart kick-off Samoa got the ball into the hands of Taunuu Niulevaea, who steps the Irish defense and takes off down the field for Samoa’s third try.

Samoa again secures the ball from the kick-off and this time it gets to try-scoring machine Tuna Tuitama who goes over for his second try to extend the Manu’s lead by 24-12.

Manu Samoa were down to 10 players for the 5th place final with the loss of halfback Neueli Leitufia and forward Motu Opetai to match official citings where each player was handed a 3 game ban.

Neueli was issued a red card for a dump tackle against Australia’s Stu Dunbar in the 5th place semi-finals.

Motu was cited for taking a swing at the Australian who had pinned down Neueli with a elbow to his neck.

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Head Coach Muliagatele was left with four forwards. He started Niulevaea with Levi Milford and BJ Telefoni Lima, then used the rolling subs to rest his forwards with Vaafauese Apelu-Maliko.

The backline were on fire with Captain Extraordinaire Melani Matavao making a full recovery from injury to lead his troops.

Apia Maroon’s Tuna Tuitama and Tepatasi’s Owen Niue looked to have enjoyed  themselves, looking to be a dangerous combination for Samoa.

Pacific brothers Fiji will play the bronze medal final against France after going down the South Africa in the semi final.

New Zealand currently top of the points table will meet 4th placed South Africa in the Syndey 7s final.

Daniel M Limā