Samoa complete Kiwi misery with Dubai Sevens win
DUBAI - Pre-tournament favourites New Zealand lost unexpectedly to Samoa in the final of Dubai Rugby Sevens on Saturday.
At The Sevens Stadium in Dubai, Gordon Tietjens’ side lost 26-15, just a few hours after their 15-a-side World Cup winning side had slumped to a 38-21 defeat to England at Twickenham.
It was the third time Samoa had reached the final in Dubai, but the first time they had taken victory having lost championship matches in 2009 and 2010.
The 2009 loss had come to the All Blacks, who have won the title five times in Dubai.
“It’s amazing and I’m very happy today,” said Samoa coach Tausa Faamaoni Lalomilo.
“We give this win to our people back home and also for the young lads we brought in in preparation for the Olympics in Brazil in 2016.”
Captain Afa Aiono added: “We are really proud. We did a really good job and achieved what we were aiming for and won our first ever cup in Dubai.”
“It was touch and go. New Zealand are a pretty good team but our boys stepped up and played their hearts out.”
Samoa found their inspiration in Paul Perez, whose two early tries — the first one coming as early as the 14th second — gave the champions a 12-0 advantage, with Patrick Faapale completing the second conversion.
Tries from Ben Lam and Kiwi captain DJ Forbes made it 19-10 at the break, and Kurt Baker reduced the deficit to just four points, but Forbes spilled a pass for Tulolo Tulolo to score and Faapale converted to give his side a lead that they did not relinquish.
New Zealand reached the final defeating Kenya 27-7.
Tim Mikkelson scored twice before the interval for the winners and Scott Curry scored twice in the second half.
Samoa beat France 12-5 in their semi-final.
In the quarter-finals, France scored the biggest upset when they beat Fiji, winners of the first leg of IRB Sevens Series in Australia, 8-5.
Samoa moved ahead with a 19-7 win over Wales, while Portugal, who created the biggest upset on the opening day qualifying from their pool ahead of defending champions England and South Africa, could not produce the same magic against New Zealand and lost 28-7.
Kenya beat Canada in the fourth quarter-final 19-7.
The third round of the series takes place in South Africa on December 8 and 9.