Samoa’s Under-20s subdue tough Japan team

Try-scorer Tito Sufia in action against the Japanese defence in their Pool B encounter at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on 9 June 2009. Photo by: Hiroyuki Nagaoka (RJP).

Samoa’s Under-20s competing in the Junior World Cup in Japan subdued a tough Japan team 29-20 at Prince Chicibu Stadium Wednesday night. Samoa followed up its opening 17-14 epic win over Scotland with a tough assignment against Japan in front of 12,000 parochial supporters.

Samoa appeared to be coasting in the first half as tries by Tito Sufia, Iafeta Laau and Taupo Sefo gave the team a 22-5 lead.
However, a try by Japanese captain Ryuhei Arita early in the second half was the start of resurgence that put Samoa’s under-20s to the sword. Their lead at one stage sliced to 7-points with their captain Arita scoring a hat-trick. Although the Japanese endeavor was relentless to the end, a try by Samoa’s open-side flanker Falemiga Selesele in the 67th minute put the match beyond the reach of the Japanese.
“Tonight’s win was very important for us as it secures our place in the Junior World Cup next year in Argentina”, says Manager, Namulauulu Samia Leota.

“It also puts us at the top-8 part of the competition and means we have the opportunity to improve our current ranking of seventh.”

The coaching staff took a lot of positives from the performance with the team showing character to tighten the game and seal the win as the Japanese team was scoring tries.
“The win is now behind us and we are focusing on the huge challenge which is to play last year’s runners-up, England. They will be very hard but we believe that we have a good chance to make the semi-finals.”

Samoa is second in Pool B with nine points. England leads with 10 points, Japan and Scotland have 1 each.

Samoa 29 (Tito Sufia, Iafeta Laau, Taupo Sefo, Falemiga Selesele tries; Rayhan Laulala pen, 3 con) Japan 20. Halftime 22-10.