Manu Samoa

Samoa 7s make best start in five years

The Manu Sevens were pipped 19-17 by England in the playoff for third place after being outclassed 38-7 by eventual winners South Africa in the Cup semi-finals.

Samoa had earlier beaten Australia 19-14 in the quarter finals after finishing second in their group behind tournament runners-up New Zealand.

Captain Tomasi Alosio was named in the tournament Dream Team as the Samoans recorded their best result in Dubai since winning the season-opening event in 2012.

Jack Lam puts Manu before money

The 31 year old, who played the first of his 37 tests in 2013, is out of contract after being released by the Bristol Bears in May.

Lam, who had been at the club since 2014, captained the side in the early part of the 2016-17 English Premiership campaign but was one of 11 players to be shown the door by his coach and cousin Pat Lam, including fellow Samoa international Tusi Pisi.

He received offers from a couple of clubs in France but said he turned them down in order to play for Samoa.

"It was a no-brainer for me.

Samoa planning no "special treatment" for Bundee Aki

The 29 year old moved to Ireland five years ago and has played 22 tests for his adopted nation since 2017.

Manu captain Jack Lam said they knew Aki but would't be paying him any more attention than the rest of the Irish team.

"No special presents for him, he'll get the same treatment as everyone else. Most of the boys are pretty close with Bundee - a couple of boys have seen him during the week - so we're still friends off the field but once everyone crosses the line they're all the same," Lam said.

Samoa tweak tight five for Irish finale

Logovi'i Mulipola replaces Jordan Lay at loosehead prop, with coach Steve Jackson expecting a fierce battle up front against the Irish.

"We thought Jordan Lay played extremely well against Japan but we've gone for Logovi'i Mulipola this week to just give that little bit of certainty at scrum time," he said.

"Jordan is fantastic around the field and we'll probably give away a little in that area but we just want to make sure our set piece is strong and solid."

Lafaele reflects on his 'special' match against Manu Samoa

For Timothy Lafale this game was different.

The Japanese midfielder had played 20 test matches prior to last weekend. He'd played against England, France and Ireland. He'd played against the Wallabies, the Springboks and even scored two tries against the All Blacks.

But never against Samoa, the country where he was born 28 years ago and spent the first few years of his life. The country his birth parents still call home.

Samoa rip ref after Japan defeat

Scores were tied at 6-all when Samoan flanker TJ Ioane was yellow carded for a late no-arms tackle on Kotaro Matsushima in the 25th minute.

It only took two minutes for the Brave Blossoms to capitalise on their one-man advantage as Samoa-born centre Tim Lafaele crossed for the opening try of the game.

Samoa believe they can beat Brave Blossoms

Samoa have beaten the Brave Blossoms in 11 of their 15 previous matchups but haven't tasted success since 2012.

The Manu were thumped 34-0 by Scotland in their previous match but flanker Chris Vui said there is still a lot of belief in the squad.

"After that Scotland game we still have belief in what we're trying to do - Japan's in our way and it's just another team we've got to get past to make those playoff games - and there's huge belief in this squad," Chris Vui said.

Supporting Samoa with songs and cheehoos

As the crowd rolled into the Kobe Misaki Stadium it was difficult to ignore the cheehoos (the Samoan equivalent of 'yahoo'), singing and cheering coming from the two men dressed in Manu Samoa jerseys, lavalava and Samoan Ula Nifo necklaces.

A crowd gathered around them early, and the numbers didn't begin to dwindle until just before the match began.

About three hours into the spontaneous photo-taking marathon one of the men, Bistol Sefo, who lives in Yokohama with his Japanese wife, stepped aside for a break.

Sending off caps sorry night for Samoa

To make things worst, it was the first time the Manu had been held scoreless in 30 Rugby World Cup appearances dating back to 1991.

Samoa trailed 3-0 approaching the half hour mark before two tries in four minutes from Sean Maitland and Greig Laidlaw, and a long-range Stuart Hogg drop-goal opened up a commanding 20-0 lead at half-time.

First five Tusi Pisi was caught napping for the opening five-pointer, with Scottish winger Maitland, who's mother is Samoan, getting on the end of a pinpoint cross-kick from Finn Russell.

Samoa ask World Rugby for tackle explanation

Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu'u were both yellow carded during Samoa's Rugby World Cup opener against Russia last week but were later slapped with a three match suspension by an independent judicial committee.

Coach Steve Jackson said in both cases Russian fullback Vasily Artemyev was deemed to have dropped into contact, which remained a grey area in World Rugby's high tackle framework.