Samoa Overcomes Australia to Qualify for Cup Quarterfinal in London

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Right from the kickoff Taunu’u Niulevaea showed excellent strength at the breakdown to earn Samoa the ball.

From there they spread wide to Va’afauese Apelu-Maliko who made easy work of an Australian defender to score Samoa’s first try.

Samoa’s second try was a carbon copy of their first. Brilliant work again by Samoa in the breakdown area and from there the ball is spread wide.

Motu Opetai then draws two defenders and puts his Co-Captain Melani Matavao into a gaping hole to score Samoa’s second.

It became obvious that the key to Samoa’s dominance was their kickoff.

As the men in blue win their 3rd consecutive kickoff, they also scored their 3rd consecutive try.

It was Melani Matavao once again, but this time, it was Neueli Leitufia who put his skipper into space for his second try.

Behind by 19-0, Australia needed to be the first team to score if they had any chance of winning and that’s exactly what they did.

It came via Henry Patterson after he ran a great support line to receive a good offload and score Australia’s first.

The match wasn’t at all safe for Samoa at 19-7 and they knew that. After some brilliant defence, Samoa came away with the ball to score the match sealing try.

Neueli Leitufia intercepted an Aussie pass and broke away into space before offloading to Motu Opetai.

Opetai got his long legs going, carrying Australians with him before he, too, got an offload away to a flying Apelu-Maliko for his second try of the match.

Australia snuck in a consolation try to end the match at 24-14.

Samoa is still in contention with Australia and South Africa for the final automatic qualification spot to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The Aussies went into London with 125 points – 9 points ahead of Samoa and South Africa, who are equal on 116 points.

Samoa’s next match is against Spain at 4:08am Samoa Time.


Daniel M Limā