Samoa snatch Safari Sevens title from hosts
Posted Sunday, November 6 2011 at 19:31
Samoa lived up to their promise to win the 15th edition of the Safaricom Safari Sevens at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday.
Bolstered by their swift passing and breakdowns flair, the 2009/2010 IRB World Sevens Series champions silenced Samurai 31-12 in what was basically dubbed the ‘Battle of the South Pacific Islanders’ final.
Auckland beat Zimbabwe 29-12 to lift the Plate, Belmont 17, Bristol 14; Semis: Bristol took the Bowl with a 26-7 win over Royal Welsh while the Shield went to Uganda after a 31-0 thrashing of neighbours Rwanda.
Samoa, who won the 2005 title on debut before bowing out in the semi-finals in 2009, edged out two-time champions South Africa’s Emerging Boks 19-10 while the Fiji international-studded Samurai beat defending champions Kenya 29-12.
Having won the Oceania Sevens last weekend, Samoa completed their brace with a Haka performance, to the delight of the fans who included Prime Minister Raila Odinga, his deputy Musalia Mudavadi and Sports Minister Paul Otuoma.
The victors took the first-half lead 26-0 with their trademark inter-passing and crispy breakdowns.
Levi Asi went for two quick tries with the first one after slicing through the defence and the second after a whacky dummy.
Patrick Faapale converted both. Topou Alatasi and Fale Sooialo then completed their intense 20-metre passes with superb tries, with Faapale converting one, for the irside to lead 216-0 at intervals.
Samurai’s intense pick and drive paid off when Pio Tuwai scores from the ruck following a scratch penalty.
Semis Muakalauo converted but Samurai trailed 7-26. Taulagi Afamiasaga then hit Samurai with a try and not even Apisai Naiyabo’s try would bring the game back.
“We are just preparing for the start of the IRB seasons but the boys are not yet there since there are some cobwebs we need to get rid of,” said Samoa coach Stephen Beghen.
Stretched to the limit
Kenya’s depth was stretched to the limit against the highly technical Samurai side, with host coach Mitch Ocholla conceding: “The boys played to their best and only lost to more efficient and basically Fijian side.”
He added: “Our depth has been tested to the limit and we now have to go back to the drawing board and work on how to become a better national side before the start of the IRB World Sevens Series.”
Ocholla was nonetheless elated with the new call-ups in the likes of Felix Ayange, Edwin Makori and Philip Wamae.
Samoa coach Stephen Beghen had an advice for Kenyans: “Don’t give up on this team. This is a young team and it can get better.”Defending champions Kenya edged out of tournament as Samoa's beats Samurai 31-12 in main Cup final to win this year's Safaricom Sevens title.
(SEE IN PICTURES: Safaricom Sevens)