Oceania Sevens: Samoa Run Riot in Apia
Round four of the 2011 Oceania Sevens Championship in Apia saw big wins to the top four seeds.
Fiji and Tonga beat New Caledonia 47-0 and American Samoa 26-5 respectively in Pool A while Samoa and Australia were too strong for the Cook Islands (a whopping 60-0) and Solomon Islands (33-10) in Pool B.
Barring a major upset these four are favoured to make the semi-finals tomorrow.
Tonga beat American Samoa in their first-ever head to head, striking back after Joseph Poyer scored the opening try to rack up 26 unanswered points.
Keori Okati, Paula Kata and Simana Halaifonua crossed in the first half and Tonga looked to be set for a big score. But American Samoa were unlucky not to score a second after forcing Tonga into numerous mistakes in their own 22 and only a late try to Jack Ram made the margin 26-5.
Tonga will play the loser of Australia v Niue in tomorrow’s quarter-final.
Fiji overpowered New Caledonia in what was likewise their first-ever clash, winning 47-0.
Winger Aporosa Tabulawaki raced in for two tries and new cap Timoci Davu one as Fiji led 21-0 at halftime. National U-20 centre Semi Radradra, with two, Suva sevens captain James Brown and Sevuloni Lutu also crossed for Fiji who are still yet to concede a point.
Captain Setefano Cakau was rested for the match but there are no injury concerns for the top seeds.
Australia faced a competitive Solomon Islands yet scored tries at regular intervals to lead 21-5 at halftime. Lindsay Crook, who turns 19 next week, scored two of these and a third in the second spell to take his tally in the tournament to four.
However, the Aussies (playing in white) found the going tough against a team who are playing just their fifth international tournament in five years.
Bill Meakes, who scored Australia’s final try, and the equally-powerful James Turner stood out for Australia while tryscorers Roman Tongaka and Harris Giusaga were the Solomons’ best players.
Hosts Samoa had no problems with the Cook Islands scoring at will to win 60-0, the biggest victory of the day.
Talaga Alofipo scored his first two tries for Samoa to join Faalemiga Selesele (who scored a hattrick), Alatasi Tupou (2), Robert Lilomaiava (2), and Lolo Lui on the scorecard.
Tupou’s second brought a cheer from the small crowd when Afa Aiono bumped off the defender before sending the scoring pass, while Lui’s came from a seven-man pushover try after a lineout.
Samoan coach Stephen Betham was not getting carried away with the result.
“We still have one to go and we just need to get over the niggles from the first games,” said Betham. “The older guys are feeling it a bit so the plan is to introduce the new players and it’s going really well.”
The scoreline consigned the Cook Islands to a quarter-final with Fiji, assuming the top seeds beat American Samoa in their final match, while Samoa are on course to play their cousins from American Samoa
Results from Day One:
Tonga 19 Papua New Guinea 19
American Samoa 31 New Caledonia 7
Fiji 21 Tonga 0
Papua New Guinea 21 American Samoa 17
Tonga 45 New Caledonia 5
Fiji 48 Papua New Guinea 0
Tonga 26 American Samoa 5
Fiji 47 New Caledonia 0
Samoa 47 Niue 0
Cook Islands 19 Solomon Islands 7
Niue 19 Cook Islands 12
Samoa 35 Australia 12
Niue 27 Solomon Islands 7
Australia 31 Cook Islands 12
Australia 33 Solomon Islands 10
Samoa 60 Cook Islands 0
Papua New Guinea v New Caledonia
Fiji v American Samoa
Niue v Australia
Solomon Islands v Samoa