PNG thrashes Am. Samoa 46-0 in Oceania U19 rugby
The American Samoa National Under 19 rugby team suffered its second terrible loss yesterday in the ongoing Oceania Under 19 Rugby Tournament in Samoa, against a much heavier and more experienced team from Papua New Guinea.
The PNG team was well aware of their weight advantage and from the starting whistle, their forwards sprang into action gaining valuable ground with brutal frontal attacks running phase after phase, then feeding the ball to their fast backs who took the ball over the tryline on more than one occasion.
American Samoa on the other hand were swept away as their opponents controlled the pace of the game with their big forwards like bulls on the rampage.
However, they bravely held on and put their bodies on the line by throwing themselves at their opponents. They also made bashed their way into enemy territory when they had the ball in hand, but these runs were always quickly snuffed out by their bigger opponents.
It was in the first ten minutes of the game that PNG drew first blood with their center touching down near the corner after a backline attack inside the American Samoa 22-meter area.
The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Desperate to put some points on the scoreboard, Captain Kalisi Tialii opted to kick for goal when the referee penalized PNG for infringements in forward play.
There were three penalty kick attempts at goal, two by first-five Tuafale Faisauvale and one by halfback Pa’upa’u Penitusi but unfortunately, none was successful.
Three more tries by PNG followed all unconverted and brought the half-time score to 20-0.
Coming back in the second half, American Samoa tried to slow the pace of the game and pass the ball around, but the faster PNG backs seemed to be everywhere.
Injuries further spoiled American Samoa’s chances for scoring a try, with two players not able to continue the game. Fortunately, they were not serious injuries.
PNG took advantage of the situation and scored another four tries in the second half, three of them converted to bring the final score to 46-0.
American Samoa Coach Leaupepe Terry Chang said that his team had put themselves into trouble by not sticking to their game plan.
“I knew the PNG team was much heavier than our boys, so I told them not to attempt to confront them play by play, but to play the ball wide and spread the PNG defense,” Coach Leaupepe said. “However, PNG exploded into the game using their big forwards to move the ball forward and our team kept trying to go against them to no avail. But our boys played their hearts out and they deserve credit. We’ll just have to go back to the drawing board and work out a winning strategy.”
American Samoa will take on Vanuatu in their third game on Monday next week.
“Of all the teams in this tournament, Vanuatu has a similar pack weight to us, so we really have a good chance to come out on top next week,” the coach said.