Samoa qualify for World Rugby Under 20 Trophy
24 February, 2020, 11:45 am
Samoa has qualified for the World Rugby Under 20 Trophy after thrashing Tonga 36-0 in the Oceania qualifier at Apia Park.
The home side ran in five unanswered tries in wet conditions and managed to keep the kingdom scoreless despite being reduced to 13 players for a brief period in the second half.
Samoa first five Louis Bartley-Saena got the scoring underway with a fourth minute penalty goal before right wing Owen Niue crossed for opening try just before the quarter hour mark.
Tonga were dealt a further blow when captain and number eight ‘Ofa Manukeu was sent to the sin-bin midway through the first half, with halfback Steve Onosai crossing for two tries in the space of five minutes during his absence to give Samoa a 24-0 half-time buffer.
Fullback Indiha Sao-Tuihuta found the try-line 13 minutes into the second half to extend Samoa’s lead to 31 points. Yellow cards to Owen Niue and blindside flanker Ailepata Lemalu in the space of five minutes briefly reduced the home side to 13 players but even that couldn’t prevent the Samoans from breaching the Tongan defence, with captain and number eight East Timor Fa’amatuainu dotting down for the final five-pointer of the afternoon.
Despite the lopside scoreline, Fa’amatuainu said it was a tough game and they had to work hard for the win.
“We had put a lot of effort into it as we knew Tonga was quite a strong team, so we worked on our set pieces and managed to work it well and we came out with a good result,” he said.
Samoa experienced strong winds and heavy rain during the week which Fa’amatuainu said prepared them well for the slippery conditions.
“We’ve trained a lot in the rain so for us it was a good run to get out there and put what we’ve practised into the game,” he said.
“I’m really happy right now and more than proud for the boys as we have qualified. We trained hard and I know we deserved the win with three to four months in preparation, we are very happy with the win and qualifying for the World Rugby Under 20s Trophy.”
Samoa will now represent Oceania at the Under 20s Trophy in Spain in September.
Tonga finished third in Brazil last year while the Baby Manu were beaten by fellow Pacific Island rivals Fiji in the 2018 final.