Samoa’s Elisapeta Alofipo scored the match-winning try against Canada. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby
The Samoa Sevens team has made a winning start at the Mens’ World Sevens Series in Dubai dedicating the victory to the victims of the on-going measles epidemic in Samoa that has so far claimed 63 lives.
The Manu 7s wore a black armband in their opening match against Canada and came out with a 19-12 victory.
Sir Gordon Tietjens’ side conceded two first half tries but responded in kind through Paul Scanlan and Tofatu Solia to go into the half-time break all square at 12-all.
The Samoans were reduced to six players when Joe Perez was yellow carded for a high tackle but dug in on defence to keep Canada scoreless in the second spell, with Elisapeta Alofipo sealing a 19-12 victory with the final try a minute from full-time.
Captain Tomasi Alosio said the team was “playing with a lot of emotion” after a difficult week.
“With one of the boys, Laaloi (Leilua) going back home to his family last weekend after his daughter getting measles and also finding out a few boys here in the team at the moment his daughter is struggling with measles as well so it’s good to come out on top and Samoa this is for you,” he said in a video posted on the Manu Samoa Sevens Facebook page.
“We dedicate this victory for the families of the victims of the measles – our hearts and prayers go out to you guys, the Manu Samoa Sevens here in Dubai are going to do it for you.”