So close as the Junior All Blacks sneak past Samoa.
The Manu Samoa came so excruciating close to forging a historic win against a star studded Junior All Black side yesterday.
The one point loss will be the talking point for home folk for a long time and it sent out alarm bells signalling a new start for our beloved Manu Samoa.
Fans certainly left Apia Park satisfied the boys in Blue delivered what they came to see, a spirited fight to the final whistle. Manu Samoa captain George Stowers expressed disappointment in the one point loss remarking unreservedly, “a loss is a loss.”
George has set new bench marks for the side in this campaign and knows they certainly have the makings of a good side. He led the side from the front and was inspirational with ball in hand and in defence. His younger charges, Ki Anufe, Andrew Williams and Esera Lauina, all rose to the occasion and foot it with their more glitzy opponents.
The old brigade within the Manu ranks all stepped up to the plate and gave a committed 80 minutes. Junior Poluleuligaga had a busy day at the office rallying his forwards and providing good service to his outsides.
Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu combined well with Gavin Williams and showed touches of brilliance out wide. Replacement lock Daniel Leo, was a menace when he came on. He brought mongrel to the contact area, rucks and mauls and added height to secure good lineout ball.
Super sub Uale Mai was electric and provided direction when he entered the field. His added experience on the field gave renewed urgency and ignited a last ditch resurgence.
The Samoa capped off a good start to the international season and certainly won the hearts of the vocal home crowd yesterday. It certainly has been a while in between drinks since we last witnessed the home crowd go nuts at Apia Park. Those deafening screams and cheers would have no doubt awakened a sleeping giant.