The Manu Samoa Under 20s have thrashed Tonga leaving them tryless 36-0 at Apia Park to win the Oceania Trophy for 2020.
A structured Samoan side looked sharper, fitter and more hungry to win the one-off test match that decides which nation will participate in the World Rugby 20s Trophy in Spain later this year.
Samoa were patient and steadily built up phases until Louis Bartley-Saena and Andrew Wulf combined their quick hands to put Taunu’u Niulevaea into acres of space.
Niulevaea gave a perfect off-load to speedster Owen Niue who put on some dazzling footwork to beat the Tongan fullback and score under the post.
As the game passed the 20 minute mark, Tonga virtually had no possession or territory.
Tonga showed signs of a below-average scrum and Samoa took full advantage. While Tonga’s scrum was falling apart scrumhalf Steve Onosai snuck his way over for Samoa’s second try to take the lead to 17-0.
Tonga finally got their hands on the ball through a penalty and opted for a lineout, but an error at lineout time for Tonga saw a loose ball that Samoan scrumhalf Steve Onosai kicked down field and the races were on.
Having out-paced the Tongan wing, Onosai stayed calm, collecting a slippery ball to score Samoa’s third try and extend the lead to the halftime score of 24-0.
Head Coach Falanaipupu Setu Tuilaepa would have been happy with his side’s first half performance.
Tonga came out at halftime a different outfit, clearly shifting their strategy to a tighter game plan of pick-n-go in the forwards. They managed to keep possession of the ball for the first 15 minutes of the second half, within 5 metres of the tryline but could not turn this into points, twice fumbling the ball just before the tryline.
Despite the relentless attack by the Tongans, Samoa’s defence stood strong.
Samoa’s solid defense soon earned a penalty, and before the Tongans could regroup, 1st 5/8 Bartley-Saena put up a bomb-kick that Tonga dropped; and all of a sudden Samoa were on the attack.
The ball found the hands of Indiha Jai-Huta who beat two would-be Tongan defenders to score Samoa’s 3rd try of the match.
Now leading 29-0 the Baby Manu were only 5 metres away from scoring and looked ready to put the pedal to the metal.
The next try for Samoa came after destroying a Tongan scrum, Captain and No.8 East Timor (ET) Faamatuainu picked up the ball from the back of the scrum and dived over for a try of his own, sealing the annihilation of Tonga 36-0.
Head Coach Falanaipupiu was supported by a high level line-up of local coaches, all former national rugby reps for Samoa.
Assistant Coaches were former National Sevens Coach Tausa Faamaoni Lalomilo and former Sevens star Malu Lolo Lui. Technical Advisors were Fainuulelei Matamua Filipo Saena and Galumalemana Rudolf Moors with the experienced Rev Onosai Soo as Team Manager.
During the match none other than Lolo Lui himself with the support of Galumalemana Rudolf Moors, ran the water for the team.