Win a Huge Surprise: Samoa
Samoa won their first Cup of the 2015/16 World Rugby Sevens Series 29-26 with a stunning second-half comeback against Fiji in Paris. And Samoa coach Damian McGrath said the win came as a huge surprise after they were outplayed by the Fijians 42-5 in pool play on Sunday. Fiji dominated the opening 10 minutes at a jam-packed Stade Jean Bouin, with tries from Isake Katonibau, Leone Nakarawa and a brace from Seremaia Tuwai putting Ben Ryan’s side 21-0 up with halftime looming close. Belgium Tuatagaloa clawed one back for Samoa, with the conversion from Tila Mealoi making it 26-7 to Fiji at the break. However after a rousing team talk from head coach Damian McGrath, Samoa began to fight back in the second-half, with two tries from Mealoi closing the gap to 26-17 with just over four minutes remaining. Siaosi Asofolau kept the momentum going for Samoa and in the dying seconds captain Faalemiga Selesele finished off the match to give Samoa a historic win. It was Samoa’s first Cup win since Dubai in 2012 and gives them some serious momentum heading into the Olympic repechage qualifier in Monaco on June 18/19.
“It’s a huge surprise, especially after Fiji were so strong against us yesterday. We wanted to get some pride back and we did that,” said McGrath.
“At halftime I said if we get the first score we can get back into this. Self belief is a huge thing, and they believed in themselves.”
Despite the loss, Fiji have taken a huge step closer to securing the 2015/16 series title, leading the standings by 14 points ahead of South Africa with just one round left in London next weekend. Hosts France gave the crowds plenty to cheer about across the three days, winning the third place playoff against Argentina, 26-17. Two tries from Virimi Vakatawa, who was named in 1the Dream Team for Paris, combined with scores from Julien Candelon and Jean Baptiste Mazoue was too much for a spirited Argentina side who looked dangerous all weekend.