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‘We’re cooking’: Samoa hold on to beat ‘neighbours’ New Zealand in LA

By Finn Morton
Samoa versus New Zealand at SVNS LAX. Picture: World Rugby.

While they failed to make the Cup quarter-finals in Los Angeles, Samoa have still repaid the faith shown in them by their vibrant supporters as they hung on for a hard-fought win over New Zealand in their final game at SVNS LAX.

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Samoa were beaten in a three-point thriller by the All Blacks Sevens in pool play, and after losing to the United States and Australia, they unfortunately fell out of Cup contention.

Left to battle it out for ninth place at best, the Samoans registered a win over South Africa which set up a rematch against their “neighbours down the road” on a blue-skied Sunday afternoon.

New Zealand’s Amanaki Nicole opened the scoring inside the first minute, but incredibly vocal and passionate Samoan supporters brought the noise which spurred their team on to a redeeming 12-5 victory.

Elisapeta Alofipo scored one try in each half to send Samoa on the path to victory. While New Zealand risked clawing their way back, it was the men in blue who were celebrating in the end.

“Every year they turn out. Last year it was hailing and none of them went home,” Samoa’s BJ Telefoni Lima told RugbyPass.

“We’re disappointed we couldn’t put on a good result for them here in LA but always grateful for these guys here. This is probably our favourite place to play, it’s basically our home ground.

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“Praise God that we’ve come through the tournament all healthy.

“They’re a quality side, we all that. The All Blacks name is notorious throughout the world, the rugby world,” he added.

“Beating them is never an easy feat or one we take for granted.

“We’ve come up against them I think six, seven times this season and it’s only the fifth leg. We’re very familiar with each other and beating them is always satisfying.

“Glory to God that we could get it done.

“Every game we’ve played has been decided within seven points, this season anyway. It’s only our second win against them.”

Samoa have only made the quarter-finals twice this season. They started the 2023/24 campaign with a knockout appearance in Dubai but had to wait until last weekend’s leg in Vancouver to match that feat.

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But it’s not time to ring the alarm just yet. The Samoan players were all smiles after the confidence-building win over New Zealand as they continue on their journey.

While they aren’t at the top of the pile just yet, or even in the top eight at this stage, Telefoni Lima still believes that Samoa have “the team to win any competition.”

“We’ve got the talent,” Telefoni Lima said.

“God knows how much these boys are putting in week in, week out. We’ve just got to put a performance together.

“Pray that our country sticks with his. We’re cooking something this team, this special group of people, and we’re gonna get it done.”

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1 Comment
R
Rugby 108 days ago

New Zealand’s Amanaki Nicole
oh not another
ok also
get the paypal out buy some Samoan vialima

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Flankly 9 hours ago
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