Four pieces of hardware were doled out at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. Sunday. All of the finals of those competitions affect the World Series standings, as does the third/fourth game. Here is a rundown of four of the tournament's final five games.
Fiji and Samoa didn’t disappoint in the third-fourth game, and the atmosphere was as good as it would be in the final, with Samoan and Fijian flags festooned throughout the stadium.
Samoa looked like it was going to pull away as the first half was coming to a close. Manu Samoa scored two tries in just over two minutes, but Fiji’s Benito Masilevu scored in the eighth minute to pull Fiji within striking distance before intermission.
Fiji’s Samisoni Viriviri opened scoring in the second stanza with a converted try, making the score 21-17 in favor of Samoa. Reupena Levasa then dotted down for Samoa to break up what would become a 26-5 run spanning both sides of halftime that saw Fiji take a 31-26 lead with less than a minute to play.
Samoa drove the ball into Fiji’s territory after what looked like the final restart, and just before a Samoan ball carrier was bungled into touch near New Zealand’s defending five-meter, he threw the ball off of a Fijian defender and it bounced out of bounds, giving Samoa an attacking five-meter lineout.
Reserve Lilomaiava wound up diving over in the corner on that possession to force overtime.
Early in extra time, Fiji was whistled for holding on near its own 22, and the game was delayed as the ball for the final was parachuted onto the field. (Tournament organizers apparently didn’t account for overtime when scheduling the fly-in.)
Off of the penalty, Samoa had its winning possession. Lilomaiava scored the game winner, giving the thousands of Samoa fans in attendance the top consolation.
Tries: Lilomaiava (2), Tupou, Aiono, Lolo, Levasa
Cons: Lui (3)
Tries: Raqamate, Masilevu (2), Viriviri (2)
Cons: Raqamate (3)
Scotland pinged at a breakdown deep in its own end, losing Michael Maltman to the sin bin. Conor Trainor then dotted down shortly following to knot the game at 5-5.
Canada took the lead off of another costly Scotland penalty for not releasing. The Canadians spun the ball wide off the set piece and John Moonlight dove in at the corner, barely grounding the ball before being shoved into touch. The conversion was missed, making it 10-5 to Canada.
Canada crossed over for a third try, this time Harry Jones doing the work, before Maltman was issued his second yellow card of the game. Maltman picked up and slammed Taylor Paris off the ball and was sent off. Nanyak Dala scored the final try of the game shortly thereafter.
Tries: Moonlight, Trainor, Dala, Jones
France and Argentina also played a hotly contested final in competing for the Bowl. Tied at 5-5 and 12-12, France didn’t take its final advantage until Terry Bouhraoua put them up 17-12 midway through the second half.
Argentina had a chance to tie the game a third time or take the lead when Pierre Gilles Lakafia was sin binned in the fourth minute of the second half, but France’s defense remained firm. The win will keep France from falling any further than fifth in the World Series rankings.
Tries: Deniau, Delmas, Bouhraoua
Tries: Moyano, Panceyra Garridao
Australia won the Plate Final in a walk, beating Uruguay 41-0. Six players scored tries for Australia in the game. The win is a small consolation for Australia’s disappointing weekend, but it won’t prevent Scotland from jumping them in the Series standings.
Tries: McMahon (2), Holland, Walker, Parahi, Tuapou, Foley