The valiant Manu Samoa 7’s side have fallen out of Cup contention at the Singapore 7’s after a 22-14 loss to New Zealand.
Samoa and New Zealand are playing their first tournaments for the 2021/2022 season, but you wouldn’t know it with the quality of top notch rugby being displayed by the two sides.
North Habour speedster Moses Leo opened New Zealand’s accounts by leaving a couple of would be Samoan defenders behind him.
Samoa didn’t let an early try by NZ phase them as they quickly refocused with a well executed kick-off that launched into an attack.
If you’ve been following the 7’s over the weekend, then you would recognise the name, Steve Onosai by now. A youngster who is commonly handed the Player of the Tournament and Man of the Match awards at Apia Park, is a newborn star in the eyes of the rugby world.
Off broken play, the 20-year-old from the Vaiala Ulalei Sports Club wrong footed a kiwi defender before using speed and sheer power to carry another defender over the try line!
Samoa found themselves in the lead 7-5 as the time on the clock showed that the seven minutes of the first half was over, but the hooter hadn’t sounded..
This followed a huge lesson learned for Samoa to play to the whistle.
A misjudged kick for touch by Paul Scanlan thinking time was up led to an All Blacks lineout just five metres from the tryline.
The boys in blue played with heart to hold up the defense, broken only by New Zealand when a yellow card was awarded to Paul Scanlan. This allowed New Zealand to secure a narrow 12-7 halftime lead.
Samoa started the half with only 6 men but their defence looked like they had 8 on the field.
New Zealand threw everything they had at Samoa but the mighty blue wall of defense would not give in.
Then defence was turned into attack when Samoa got their hands on the ball and it was none other than Steve Onosai who gave Samoa the lead.
It was a copy and paste from his first try. Catch. Side step. Speed. Power. Try time! The signature smile was once again seen during the fly across the line to secure the try that would place Samoa ahead of New Zealand 14-12.
Leading, the men in blue were on the back-foot once again. The class outfit that New Zealand are were relentless on attack. Samoa made tackle after tackle, and with heart, pulled out try saver after try saver.
Despite this solid blue wall, New Zealand stayed focused and eventually found the tryline in the corner to snatch back the lead with seconds remaining in the match.
The score would have been a narrow 17-14, but the TMO declared a Paul Scanlan tackle too high.
The referee issued a second yellow card on Scanlan and New Zealand managed to break the 6-man blue defense for a try in the corner, and finish the match 22-14.
The Manu Samoa will be up against USA for the 5th place semifinal to be played at 8:51pm (Local Samoan Time).