Samoa win USA Sevens

2012-02-13 07:41

Las Vegas - Samoa scored a last-minute try to beat series-leading New Zealand 26-19 to claim the USA Sevens title on Sunday.

With the score level at 19-19, Alafoti Faosiliva barged through two defenders and dived over out wide to ensure Samoa won a title for the first time since claiming the series championship in 2010.

"It has been a long time and these boys have been working so hard, and I couldn't stop a tear or two rolling down my cheeks," Samoa coach Stephen Betham said. "The boys really deserve it and they owe it to the people back home and the fans here in Vegas. It has been a long time since our last Cup victory."

After edging Fiji 14-12 in the semifinals, Samoa dominated early against New Zealand with Faosiliva and Paul Perez scoring in the first half, and Fa'atoina Autagavaia crossing in the second half to give the Islanders at 19-5 lead.

New Zealand rallied with tries to Tomasi Cama and Ardie Savea before Faosiliva finished off an 18-pass movement to score the match winner and end New Zealand's 17-match winning streak.

"Samoa deserved it, they came at us. We had a chance to win it, but it's the team that makes the least errors that wins," New Zealand captain D.J. Forbes said. "But still disappointing, you have to be hurting getting that far and tripping up, but Samoa played well."

Samoa moved up to fifth spot after five rounds on 69 points. New Zealand leads the nine-tournament series with 92 points, five clear of Fiji.

South Africa won the third-place match 21-15 over Fiji to move into third place with 76 points.

Kenya won the plate with a 21-7 victory over Argentina and Canada edged Australia 19-17 in the bowl final.

The next stop in the series is at the Hong Kong Sevens next month.