Samoa claim Oceania Sevens title

(IRB.COM) Sunday 30 October 2011
 Samoa claim Oceania Sevens title
Uale Mai lifts the trophy

Samoa claimed the 2011 Oceania Sevens Championship by defeating Fiji 19-7 at a muddy Apia Park.

The two great rivals produced another arm-wrestle that was only settled when captain, and local hero, Uale Mai touched down in the corner in front of a delirious home crowd.

Samoa scored three tries, through Ofisa Treviranus, Faalemiga Selesele and Mai, and were always in control of the final. Semi Radradra scored a late consolation try for Fiji.

The 2009/10 Sevens World Series champions, Samoa, were untroubled in the wet conditions on day two, beating American Samoa 41-0 and Tonga 31-0 en route to the final while Fiji conceded only one try beating Australia 33- 5 in their semi-final after a 41-0 win over the Cook Islands.

Samoa’s Lolo Lui suffered an ankle injury in the quarter-final against Tonga, and missed the final two matches, but is expected to recover before the HSBC Sevens World Series kicks off in the Gold Coast in late November.

The fourth edition of the Tournament also saw regional non-core teams qualify for tournaments on the 2011-12 circuit. Tonga will attend both Wellington and Hong Kong by virtue of making the semi-finals whilst the Cook Islands, who came 5th, return to the New Zealand capital for the 12th time.

Tonga, who had drawn their opening match with PNG, finished on a high defeating Australia 28-12 to claim third place. Keori Okati (with two), Paula Kata and Jack Ram scored tries for Tonga.

The Cook Islands also beat the weekend’s big improvers, American Samoa, 12-7 with veteran Koiatu Koiatu scoring twice. America Samoa beat New Caledonia and Niue during the tournament and more will be seen of them in the future.

In the playoff for seventh Papua New Guinea edged Niue 12-5 while New Caledonia finished ninth after they beat the Solomon Islands 25-17.