Samoa and Fiji will face off in an all-Pacific quarter final in the Rugby World Cup sevens in South Africa on Sunday morning.
Samoa started its RWC7s campaign in the pre-round of 16 where they beat Uganda 33-7 and then disposed of USA 40-12 in the round of 16.
Samoa underlined their dark horse status with a huge win over sixth seeds USA, as an inspired second half performance saw them rack up a huge 40-12 win.
The match was a hard-fought contest for the first 10 minutes, as Paul Scanlan and Melani Matavao crossed either side of David Still’s try to give the Islanders a lead at the break, before Steve Tomasin’s score reduced the deficit to just two points with four minutes to go.
But the Samoans soon pulled away, turning on the style and swagger to blow away their opponents with four tries in five minutes, including a second for Scanlan and a perfectly executed chip and chase from Vaa Apelu Maliko.
The RWC7s do not have any group stages but the format is a knockout one. The eight seeded teams go into the round of 16 while the other teams who have made their way through qualification tournaments have to play a round before the round of 16.
Tonga fell short as they lost in the pre-round to Kenya 18-0. The Fiji men’s team beat Wales 29-5 in a display of free flowing rugby.
Kaminieli Rasaku fended off a defender to burst over in an instant response before Joseva Talacolo rode a tackle to go clear and put Fiji ahead.
A yellow card late in the first half threatened to make the Pacific Islanders’ lives difficult, but instead they managed to extend their advantage through Viwa Naduvalo.
The highlight of the match was a stunning score from Sevuloni Mocenacagi, who ran the length and couldn’t be caught in full flight, while Elia Canakaivata also crossed to become their fifth try scorer.
In the women’s competition, the lone Pacific team, the Fiji’s women side made an early statement of intent by thrashing Japan 36-7 to underline their status as title contenders and earn their first ever opening match win at a RWC 7s.
Fijiana, who finished third in the 2021/22 World Series, stormed past the 11th seeds as Ana Maria Naimasi scored two of their four tries before half time, then adding and converting another early in the second half to complete a hat-trick.
A sixth try was recorded by Raijieli Daveua, before Japan earned a late consolation score through Yume Hirano. The Fijiana face France in their quarter final match.