Oceania Sevens: Samoa to Play Fiji in Final
Top seeds Fiji and hosts Samoa will contest the dream final of the 2011 Oceania Sevens in Apia.
Fiji rattled up five tries to beat Australia 33-5 while Samoa were too strong for Tonga winning 31-0.
The two teams met in the final of the South Pacific Games in 2007 on this ground, with Fiji winning 26-19, and most recently contested the final of the 2011 edition in Noumea which resulted in a 21-19 win to Samoa.
Both teams have evenly-matched forward packs but the experience of Samoa, including Uale Mai, Ofisa Treviranus and Simaika Mikaele and the speed of David Lemi and Tom Iosefo over the wet surface likely to be decisive factors.
Aporosa Tabulawaki broke the Australian line to set up Sevuloni Lutu for the opening try which Livai Ikanikoda converted and Lepani Botia pounced on a loose ball to extend the lead to 14-0. The slippery conditions affected both team’s handling while the bigger Fijians had the advantage in the scrum, which led to a try to Tabulawaki on the hooter.
Fiji’s 19-0 halftime lead was soon extended when Ikanikoda capitalised on an Australian turnover to score and coach Jo Savou rang the changes with the game safe.
Captain Setefano Cakau took the score to 33-0 and his opposite Jordan Smiler finally broke Fiji’s remarkable record of 251 unanswered points when he crashed over. Bill Meakes was another who never stopped trying for Australia.
In the second semi Samoa outmuscled Tonga to win 31-0 after leading 17-0 at halftime
Simaika Mikaele crashed over for the first try from a tap penalty and captain Uale Mai slid in at the corner soon after. Ofisa Treviranus was a popular figure when he rampaged 40 metres to go in under the posts but Tom Iosefo missed out when he knocked the ball on over the line.
Tonga made the better start to the second half but soon found Iosefo and Lemi too hot to handle with each scoring simple tries.
The Cook Islands and American Samoa will contest the final of the ‘Plate’ – the playoff for 5th and 6th – after wins over Papua New Guinea and Niue respectively.
Koiatu Koiatu and Sailosi Nagi scored for the Cook Islands in their 10-0 triumph while American Samoa came from behind to beat Niue 12-5 in a historic result – their first over a team that has played on the world circuit.
McClusky Fa’agata, David Laban and Nard Umayam scored American Samoa’s three tries after they trailed 0-5 for much of the first half.
The reward for the winner of this clash will be an invitation to the world-famous Wellington leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in early February. Tonga earlier secured their trip to New Zealand by making the last four.
Papua New Guinea square off against Niue for 7th and 8th while New Caledonia depart in 9th place after their 25-17 win over the Solomon Islands
The constant downpour that marred the first part of today has stopped although the Apia Park surface remains saturated. Four matches remain with the final scheduled for 16:54 local time.
Results from Semi Finals
Fiji 33 Australia 5
Samoa 31 Tonga 0
Cook Islands 10 Papua New Guinea 0
American Samoa 17 Niue 5
7th and 8th - Papua New Guinea v Niue
5th and 6th - Cook Islands v American Samoa
3rd and 4th - Australia v Tonga
Final - Fiji v Samoa