Las Vegas 7s: Fijians rally behind Samoa

The Fiji crowd bursts into cheer as they celebrate a try from the Fiji 7s team during Fiji's pool match against Australia at the Las Vegas 7s yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

FIJIANS rallied behind Samoa as it beat Australia 21-20 in the second last cup quarterfinal of the HSBC Las Vegas 7s last night.

Following Fiji’s earlier 19-14 loss against New Zealand, Fijian fans stayed behind at the stadium to witness secure its first cup semi-final in three years.

The Samoans are one of the teams continuously improving in the series, which is what their coach Sir Gordon Tietjens wants before the 2020 Olympic Games.

Tietjens told The Fiji Times he was trying to build more depth in his team and get more players to gain experience.

Australia which earlier lost to Fiji had an opportunity to win the game in the dying minute of the game but the conversion that would have given them a victory and an extra two points was missed by John Porch.

His missed his team’s next opportunity when he was bundled into touch by Samoa.

Australians were not the only ones heartbroken. A tired New Zealand side held on to their 19-14 lead on Fiji as the Fijians rallied in front of their try line.

Defending for most part of the second half, the Kiwis worked hard and turned over possession as the clock ticked full time.

Backed by a vocal crowd, USA looked menacing and shut out the South Africans to score 29 unanswered points.

The Blitzboks finally regrouped to score two unconverted tries but was not enough to win them a semi-final berth.

New Zealand assistant coach Tomasi Cama Junior yesterday said it was going to be a tough encounter against USA with the crowd backing.

But, he added, New Zealand had played USA a number of times in the series and knows their strengths and weaknesses.

The winner of this match would lead the series as both teams are tied at number one with 76 points each.

NZ spent last night analysing their match and that of USA to determine areas they need to work on.

Argentina was the final team through to the semifinal after a close 26-21 defeat over New Zealand.

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