Oceania Sevens: Fiji and Samoa Stand out in Apia
The seeded teams staked their claim to their respective pools in round 2 of the 2011 Oceania Sevens Championship in Apia.
Fiji shut out Tonga 21-0 to win in their opening match of the tournament in Pool A while Samoa were impressive in beating Australia 35-12.
PNG struggled over American Samoa and the first upset came when Niue defeated the Cook Islands.
Top seeds Fiji had never lost to Tonga and scored three tries – to Livai Ikanikoda, Lepani Botia and Aporosa Tabulawaka who are all in just their second international tournament – in a rusty performance.
“I was a little disappointed with the first game but the boys managed in a physical encounter,” said coach Joe Savou. “We will analyse the errors and look forward to coming back in the second game against PNG.”
Fiji’s mistakes included several knock-ons, missed tackles and loose passes although Savou was taking the positives from the win.
“I am happy with the new boys especially leading into the HSBC Sevens World Series.”
In the first-ever game between Papua New Guinea and American Samoa the ‘Pukpuks’ got home 21-17.
PNG strolled out to a 21-0 lead after Montgomery Diave, captain Roland Namo and Jason Missian all scored from inside their own half but American Samoa staged a comeback through tries to Joseph Poyer, Kamilo Soi and Ross Poyer, although two conversions went astray.
PNG won the final scrum to hold on in a performance which left coach, former All Black Shane Howarth, shaking his head.
His Cook Island counterpart, Ramsey Tomokino, was similarly frustrated with a 12-19 result against Niue.
The Cooks, who beat Niue for 5th place last year in Darwin, struggled against the same opponents in the Samoan heat.
Winger Duane Gukisuva scored a nice try in the corner to open the scoring and added a second on the stroke of halftime for the Cooks to lead 12-0.
Playing in white, the Niueans ran in a well-structured try to Uani Talagi and Kenny Akulu levelled things from the restart. Akulu’s second, with under two minutes to play, gave Niue a deserved 19-12 lead which they never surrendered.
The result means Niue should get the easier quarter-final tie, depending on other results this afternoon.
The much-anticipated Pool B clash between Samoa and Australia was dominated by the home team after a shaky start.
The defending champions hit the lead when BJ Hartmann crossed but Samoan flyers Tom Iosefo and Robert Lilomaiava and blockbusting Ofisa Treviranus hit back to give Samoa a 21-7 halftime lead.
Iosefo grabbed a second as the experienced Samoans asserted their dominance at the breakdown although the Aussies never gave up and were rewarded with a try to Bill Meakes.
However, Iosefo had the final say with a third try from long range and the 23-year old shapes as one of the key players for Samoa over the weekend.
New caps Danny Routledge and captain Jordan Smiler showed promise for Australia.
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
Samoa 47 Niue 0
Cook Islands 19 Solomon Islands 7
Niue 19 Cook Islands 12
Samoa 35 Australia 12
New Caledonia v Tonga
PNG v Fiji
Niue v Solomon Islands
Australia v Cook Islands