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 15 Monday 2018, Rugby World Cup News:

Samoa A denies Uruguay A a home win in the World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge, while dethroned champions Argentina XV have to settle for second place as the key development tournament comes to an exciting conclusion in Montevideo.

Samoa A are the new Americas Pacific Challenge champions after defeating Uruguay A 38-26 in an entertaining clash at the Estadio Charrua in Montevideo.

The Pacific Islanders won all three of their games to finish top of the pile while dethroned champions, Argentina XV, finished runners-up after overwhelming the USA Select XV 55-15.

Canada A signed off on a winning note too, putting the disappointment of earlier defeats to Argentina XV and Uruguay A behind them to edge Tonga A 32-31. The result prevented Kingsley Jones' side finishing bottom of the standings for a second consecutive year and comes as a timely boost ahead of the Canucks' involvement in the Rugby World Cup Repechage tournament in Marseilles next month.


With both teams having won their opening two games, it was all but mathematically certain that a new name would be on the World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge trophy after two years of Argentinean dominance. 

Cheered on by an enthusiastic home crowd, Uruguay A took a fifth-minute lead when experienced hooker German Kessler was driven over from close range for a converted try.

Uruguay A had the chance to extend their advantage into double figures, but Federico Favaro was unable to kick a penalty opportunity.

Instead it was Samoa A who had the next points of the board, through scrum-half Ionatana Tino, who showed good strength to muscle his way over.

With Alai Leuila converting and adding a penalty, Samoa A had a 10-7 lead just past the half-hour mark. But Kessler’s second try, from another concerted forward effort, sent the home side into the break 12-10 up.

Despite losing winger Johnny Samuelu to an early sin-bin for a dangerous tackle, Samoa A scored the first points of the second half when full-back Bradford Lemalufaitoaga showed good footballing skills before touching down for a try which Leuila improved.

Uruguay A’s forward might earnt them a penalty try in the 57th minute but Samoa A upped their game to score 21 unanswered points and take the game away from the South Americans.

Tries from Samuelu, Danny Tusitala, and Iakopo Petelo, in a devastating 15-minute period, silenced the crowd before replacement hooker Manuel Ardao grabbed a late consolation for Uruguay A.


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Caps run Samoa A v Tonga A G2 2
Samoa A toning their lineout set pieces during captain's run this morning
Wednesday 10 October 2018 - 
Samoa A head coach Muliagatele Brian Lima has named his side for another tough match tomorrow morning, Thursday 11 October 2018 at 4:00am (local time), against their brothers from the friendly islands of Tonga.
One noticeable change to Lima's side is left winger Measala Seumala who was ruled out just before the start of their first game against Argentina XV when he injured his knee during warm up.
Johnny Vaili who was impressive at fullback in Samoa A's first match will be covering the left side wing with Bradford Lemalufaitoaga playing at fullback.
Another change is on the bench with Fagu Malloy coming in for Joseph Fuimaono.
"Tonga A is a very physical side. We got to be smart with how we approach these big boys or we will get smashed." Muliagatele Brian Lima.
Tonga A comes off a great win against the USA XV in their first match of the tournament and is looking at repeating their success in their second match against Samoa A.
"Like anything else, basics is the key. Do the fundamentals right and the rest will follow suit". Lima said.
Both teams remain unbeaten at this stage and a back to back win will be a huge confidence booster for either side for their quest to win the tournament.  
Samoa A squad:
Head coach: Muliagatele Brian Lima
Asst. Coach (Forwards): Mailo Potu Leavasa
Asst. Coach (Backs): Soifua John Schuster
Team Doctor: Dr. Junior Posini
Physio: Olivia Withers
Team Manager: Tuala Leaega Pat Leota

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Tokyo2020 Landcsape

Tuesday 09 October 2018

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019 all set for kick off as race for Olympic Games qualification begins

  • HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series to act as principle qualification route for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  • Women’s world series increases to six rounds with addition of HSBC USA Women’s Sevens
  • Australia women and South Africa men current title holders
  • Men’s and women’s World Series 2020 qualifier to be hosted in Hong Kong
  • Rugby sevens fan base continues to see record growth

Australia women and South Africa men will be looking to retain their titles as teams begin their preparations in earnest for the upcoming HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019.

The 2019 series has added incentive for the 11 core women’s teams and 15 core men’s teams who will battle it out to secure not only the coveted HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series titles, but also a place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by finishing in the top four of the 2019 series.

The women’s series increases to six rounds this year with the addition of new opening round, HSBC USA Women’s Sevens, kicking off in Glendale, Colorado on 20-21 October. The increase in playing opportunities is part of World Rugby’s commitment to provide more high-quality competition under the wider Women’s Plan 2017-25.

The men’s series will again be contested across 10 rounds from November 2018 to June 2019, starting in Dubai on 30 November - 1 December.


Rugby sevens made an impressive Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016, with recent Nielsen research estimating that the rugby sevens fan-base grew by more than 30 million as a result. The men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series also continues to grow, engage and attract record global audiences.

In 2018 the world series saw record-breaking fan engagement figures with an increase of 60 per cent across video views when compared with 2017 and attracted over 749,800 attendees to events globally with sell outs recorded in Hamilton, Cape Town and Hong Kong.

The growth trend continues in broadcast viewing figures with Nielsen research recording a 39 per cent increase in live broadcast audiences across both men’s and women’s series, from nine million in 2017 to 12.6 million viewers in 2018.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont today said: “The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series continues to go from strength to strength, both on and off the field of play.

“With live broadcast audiences increasing year on year and record-breaking fan engagement in 2018 across both men’s and women’s tournaments, the world series continues to capture the imagination around the globe.

“As rugby sevens grows off the field, we are seeing it become increasingly more competitive on the field, evidenced by last year’s men’s and women’s series culminating in scintillating finals in Paris. As the women’s series expands to six rounds this year, women’s teams will have more competitive playing opportunities, reaffirming our long-term commitment to the development of women’s rugby.”

“With Olympic qualification on the line this year we anticipate that the series will be the most exciting and competitive yet as men’s and women’s teams look to secure their place at Tokyo 2020.”

HSBC Group Head of Marketing Leanne Cutts, “We are proud to have worked alongside our partners World Rugby to support the incredible growth of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

“The growth of rugby sevens has been explosive, but it has not yet reached its full potential. With new teams challenging, new athletes emerging and new markets embracing rugby sevens, the sport is entering an exciting and unpredictable new world where the opportunity for growth is extraordinary.

“We recently renewed our partnership for another four-years to remain as title partner of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, as well as becoming the Official Banking Partner of World Rugby in a demonstration of our continued commitment to help the sport and its athletes to prosper and grow all over the world. We look forward to what should once again be an extraordinary 2019 season of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.”

Hong Kong will again host the hotly contested world series 2020 qualifier tournament where 12 men’s and women’s teams will compete for the right to earn core status on the 2020 world series. The world series 2020 qualification tournament comprises of non-core teams who have qualified through respective regional association tournaments.

Regional association tournaments are hosted in Africa, North America, Asia, Europe, Oceania and South America with each regional tournament having a unique number of qualifier placements available for the world series 2020 qualifier tournament.

The top ranked, non-core teams from each regional tournament will also act as the invitational team for each relevant world series round, with Mexico joining the action at the first round of the women’s series in Glendale, USA.

Beaumont added “The world series qualification tournament is always a highlight of the rugby sevens calendar. We have seen non-core teams make a real impact when they feature on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, such as Ireland men’s taking home a bronze medal at London Sevens last year, which demonstrates the strong depth of global competitiveness that exists within rugby sevens. We look forward to seeing who will earn core status at the 2020 qualifier.”

Visit HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series website for more information, click here

To view full Olympic qualification pathway documentation for Tokyo 2020 please click here

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Sam vs Arg 1

Photo: World Rugby

Tuesday 09 October 2018-World Rugby News:

Two-time defending champions Argentina XV suffered their first loss in the three-year history of the Americas Pacific Challenge, losing 36-31 against a Samoan A side unrecognizable from the one that finished fourth in last year's competition.


In sunny conditions at the Estadio Cahrrua in Montevideo, Argentina XV finally lost their unbeaten record at the Americas Pacific Challenge.

Argentina XV had won all six of their previous matches at the key development tournament, including an 85-14 win over Samoa A 12 months ago, but they were well beaten here with the final scoreline not doing the Pacific Islanders justice.

Determined to put the record straight from last year, Samoa A got off to a storming start and, by the 20th minute, had already scored two tries. Miakele Tapili was the first to cross, the second-rower running down the right touchline and breaking through some feeble tackles before full-back Johnny Vaili collected a chip kick that caused mass confusion in the Argentinian ranks for the second.

Patrick Faapale's conversion was followed by two penalties from the boot of centre Alai Leuila as Samoa A raced into an 18-0 lead.

Argentina XV were given an invaluable lifeline when loose-head Rodney Tapu was sent to the sin-bin in the 23rd minute, the defending champions capitalising on their numerical advantage to score through full-back Bautista Daireaux. Winger Leopoldo Herrera added a second shortly after the Samoans were restored to their full complement of players and with Joaquin Bonilla converting both, the gap between the sides was down to just four points.

The second half was similar to the first, with Samoa playing the better rugby and adding points through Leuila's third penalty and a try from wing Johnny Samuelu who showed his aerial ability in claiming a high ball.

Argentina XV replied after another Leuila penalty, replacement hooker Axel Zapata touching down in the 65th-minute to bring the score back to 29-19 to the Islanders. 

Six minutes later, Samoa A flanker Petelo Mapu made the game safe when he bumped off a tackle to finish from 15 metres, Leuila converting to take his points tally to 14 for the match.

Santiago Carreras and Santiago Portillo scored late tries as the Argentinians secured two bonus points.


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Josh TyrellJosh Tyrell & Logovii Mulipola on the attack, Manu Samoa vs Germany 2018, RWC Qualifier-Match 1 of 2, Apia Park. Photo: Greg Bridges

Monday 8 October 2018

Manu Samoa's squad for the forthcoming Northern Hemisphere Tour in November this year has been named. 


Head coach Steve Jackson has retained most of the old heads in the team with a number of new young blood. Eleven players in the squad play their rugby in NZ with twenty of them playing in Europe.


The team has three new recruits in the likes of North Harbour hooker Raymond Niuia, lock Benjamin Nee-Nee and Hawkes Bay midfielder Stacey Ili.


The new head coach has a tough road ahead especially with the short amount of time given for his team to assemble but he has already identified areas from previous Manu Samoa matches that need improvement.


"We will be looking to continue some of the good work that has already been done to keep some continuity,  but a big focus will be on defense especially set piece, defense and really attacking the ball when we haven’t got. We will also be working on our kicking game, our game management and how we really finish teams off when we get in front. We will be looking for consistent performances on this Tour." Steve Jackson.


Asked about some of the changes that he would introduce into the team, Jackson acknowledged competition for places as one of the keys.


"Competition for places is a key. No one by right has the jersey for the first game, we are trying to build depth and the players going on this Tour get the first opportunity to show us they want to be there next year. Clarity on the game plan and making our men better players on and off the field for their experience in our environment."


Jackson was also adamant about Tusi Pisi's selection, amidst public criticism.


"I believe Tusi still has a lot to offer in a team environment. He is an outstanding professional and we are looking to establish a high performing program and he will play an integral part in this. Also with the makeup of the team, there a few new faces and returning ones so to have his experience is going to be great. If I had any doubts that I can’t get the best out of him, he wouldn’t be there" Steve Jackson.


He further added that Tusi's inclusion is critical for other game drivers.


"His role will be critical for our other game drivers to learn from and he has some good opposition in D’Angelo Leilua and a couple of other players that can play 10. We will be looking to play our best team week in week out to build momentum into the RWC".


Manu Samoa has 3 games scheduled for the Northern Hemisphere Tour with its first game against USA on November 10th at the Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastian-Spain.


Their second game will be against Georgia on November 17th before their final outing with the host (Spain) on November 24th.


Manu Samoa 2018 - NHT SQUAD LIST    


  Names Lastname Club  
1 Logovi’i MULIPOLA Newcastle Falcons (UK)  
2 Jordan LAY Bristol (UK)  
3 James LAY Bay of Plenty (NZ)  
  Names Lastname Club  
4 Donald BRIGHOUSE Canterbury Crusaders (NZ)  
5 Hisa SASAGI Otago (NZ)  
6 Paul ALO-EMILE Stade Francaise (FRANCE)  
  Names Lastname Club  
7 Motu MATUU London Irish (UK)  
8 Raymond NIUIA North Harbour (NZ)  
9 Maatulimanu LEIATAUA USAP Perpignan (FRANCE)  
  Names Lastname Club  
10 Benjamin NEE-NEE North Harbour (NZ)  
11 Joshua TYRELL Doncaster (UK)  
12 Brandon NANSEN Newport Dragons (UK)  
 13 Teofilo PAULO London Irish (UK)  
  Names Lastname Club  
14 Ofisa TREVIRANUS London Irish (UK)  
15 Faifili LEVAVE Auckland (NZ)  
16 Piula FAASALELE Toulouse (FRANCE)  
17 Jack LAM Bristol Rugby Club (UK)  
18 TJ IOANE London Irish (UK)  
  Names Lastname Club  
19 Melani MATAVAO Otago Mitre10 (NZ)  
20 Dwayne POLATAIVAO Northcote (NZ)  
21 Pelefofoga COWLEY Auckland (NZ)  
  Names Lastname Club  
22 Tusi PISI Bristol Rugby Club (UK)  
23 D'angelo LEUILA Papatoetoe (NZ)  
  Names Lastname Club  
24 Stacey ILI Hawkes Bay (NZ)  
25 Reynold LEE LO Cardiff Blues (WALES)  
26 Henry TAEFU Western Force (Australia)  
27 Alapati LEIUA Bristol Rugby Club (UK)  
  Names Lastname Club  
28 Ed FIDOW Aix Marseille (France)  
29 Tim Nanai WILLIAMS Clermont Auvergne (France)  
30 Ah See TUALA Northampton (UK)  
31 JJ TAULAGI Hawkes Bay (NZ)  



1 Steve Jackson Head Coach
2 Alistair Rogers T/A
Chris Latham T/A
Ben Afeaki T/A
John Ashley Jones S&C 1
Luke Stephenson S&C 2
Michael Quigley Video Analyst
Olivia Withers Physiotherapist
Brett Davison HP Physiotherapist
10  Vaaelua Aloi Alesana Team Manager
11  Zane Hilton GM HPU Samoa Rugby Union