Oceania Under 19s 2010
The Samoa Rugby Union has had a lot to smile about this season, firstly storming home to win the IRB Sevens circuit, they then grabbed the PNC title and the trophy cabinet is looking mighty healthy and stocked.
With an eye on the future the next breed of talent has their chance to shine in the Oceania Under 19s that will be decided in the next 2 weeks in Apia- Samoa. Samoa boast a talented side and all eyes are fixed on lifting yet another piece of silverware.
Looking at the home side they are a well drilled machine, they are graced with natural talent, as well as share bulk to have young men that would fill out international rugby jerseys in any of the tier one national teams. They are huge, they are fast and after loosing to Fiji in the final last year they are on a mission to reverse that misfortune.
As one would expect they will be confident, looking at who is in their way is a fruit salad of the Oceania Region. PNG, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, American Samoa and Tahiti will provide the competition to lift the treasure.
American Samoa & Tahiti are not renowned in this region, however as with any sport no one can be ruled out. Tahiti played last season and will have learnt a lot of what is required at this level and will want to show inroads.
Vanuatu is the lean machines of this competition. They lack size, but apply their own ways to level the playing field. Pace, lots of chip and chase as well as pure fitness are their strength. They could keep running for 2 matches these guys, everything is full steam and every match will be an entertaining one at the very least.
PNG are also not the biggest, but they seem to play with a heart the size of the rugby ball they run with. They are never shy in the contact area, even if they are 14 kilo’s lighter in the collision, they love to tackle and are equally eager to hit rucks and run into players. They play with a positive tempo and will back themselves to have a crack at anyone, if they get some breaks going their way then they could easily rattle the big boys.
Last up is the Cook Island team, at all levels they are the ones that can jet in under the radar and cause trouble. They can match Samoa for size and will be the least intimidated in this department, on the indications of practice and preparation they look like genuine contenders.
Apia is bathing in sunshine, humidity of the Islands is gone and a lovely 25 degrees on a dry track will meet the young men at kick-off tomorrow.
Oceaniarugby.com will have all the match reports, as well as images of the fierce action, stay tuned.
Match times in Samoan time zone: 23/8/10
American Samoa vs Cook Islands 12.00 PM -Apia Park
Papua New Guinea vs Vanuatu 1.45 PM -Apia Park
Samoa vs Tahiti 3.30 PM -Apia Park