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Ireland Lose To Samoa In Sevens Opener

Ireland Lose To Samoa In Sevens Opener

Ireland have lost their opening game at the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Dubai, going down 35-5 to an impressive Samoan side. Jon Skurr’s men were 14-5 behind at half-time and Samoan star Rupena Levasa went on to score a hat-trick of tries.

2009 RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS: POOL D: Thursday, March 5

IRELAND 5 SAMOA 35, Pitch 2, Dubai Sevens Stadium

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Scorers: Ireland: Try: Brian Tuohy
Samoa: Tries: Rupena Levasa 3, Lolo Lui, Simaika Mikaele; Cons: Lolo Lui 5

Match Photo Gallery

A second-minute try from Brian Tuohy was Ireland’s only reward from their opening game of the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

The Irish won turnover ball at a ruck and Tuohy set off from the base, outpacing the cover to score from 50 metres out.

Unfortunately, the former Shannon and Munster winger’s drop-kicked conversion hit the left upright and went wide.

Samoa then turned on the gas to lead 14-5 at half-time with scores from Rupena Levasa and Lolo Lui. Lui converted both.

Levasa burst through two tackles to score his opening try, exposing some poor Irish defending.

Ireland were then penalised for crossing as they tried to attack from their posts.

A subsequent ruck offence gave Samoa a penalty chance, five metres out, and Lui tapped and burrowed his way over past two defenders.

In the second half, the experience of the Samoan team, who are regulars in the IRB Sevens World Series, helped them to build on their advantage.

They had two more tries from Levasa and one from Simaika Mikaele, who scored the best of the lot by finishing off a terrific three-man move.

For Samoa’s final try, in the dying seconds, they enjoyed some good fortune when the ball bounced free from Brian Carney’s hands and into the grasp of Levasa who cantered over.

Lui again converted all three tries to give Samoa a 30-point winning margin.

Carney, Tuohy, Paul Marshall and Gary Brown showed some good touches when in possession but Ireland could not build on that positive start.

Interestingly, the match saw Connacht’s Daniel Riordan lining up against his former provincial team-mate Ofisa Treviranus, who played for the westerners last season.

Speaking after the defeat, Ireland captain Kieran Campbell said: “We worked pretty hard there, we put a pretty good effort in, but were a bit naive a few times and let away a few soft scores.

“But credit to the lads – they put a great effort in and worked very hard for the full 14 minutes.”

Ireland will need to cut down on the errors if they are to get the better of Australia and Portugal in their two remaining Pool D games tomorrow. Australia beat Portugal 24-12 in their pool opener.

Campbell added: “I don’t think people are culpable for one-on-one tackles. I just think it is about getting our structure quickly and against good a side we didn’t get our structure in quickly enough.

“The heat was fine. We have worked hard this week and I don’t think fitness is an issue for us.

“There is just a few structure things we need to work on before tomorrow.”

IRELAND: Kyle Tonetti (Blackrock College – Leinster), James Coughlan (Dolphin – Munster), Paul Marshall (Belfast Harlequins – Ulster), Brian Carney (Clonakilty – Munster), Brian Tuohy (Cornish Pirates), Daniel Riordan (Buccaneers – Connacht), Gary Brown (Blackrock College – Leinster).

Replacements: Eoghan Grace (Shannon – Munster), Kieran Campbell (Galwegians – Connacht), Felix Jones (Old Belvedere – Leinster), Conan Doyle (Garryowen – Munster), Tom Gleeson (Cork Constitution – Munster).

SAMOA: Ofisa Treviranus, Alafoti Faosiliva, Afa Aiono, Uale Mai, Lolo Lui, Jerry Meafou, Rupena Levasa.

Replacements: Simaika Mikaele, Apelu Fa’aiuga, Etuale Pitone, Alatasi Tupou, Morgan Salesa.

Referee: Marcelo Pilara (Argentina)

Ireland Sevens Management –

Hugh McCaughey – Manager
Jon Skurr – Coach
Simon Harland – Physiotherapist
Fergal O’Callaghan – Fitness
Ashley Blair – Masseuse
Vinny Hammond – Video Analyst

Ireland Match Schedule Rugby World Cup Sevens –

Match Day 2:
Friday, March 6, 2009 2.40pm Australia v Ireland
4.52pm Portugal v Ireland

Match Day 3:
Saturday, March 7, 2009 FINAL DAY
10.30pm Men’s Quarter-Finals
5.08pm Men’s Semi-Finals
6.30pm Men’s Bowl Final
7.30pm Men’s Plate Final
8.35pm Men’s Cup Final
9.30pm Closing Ceremony

* All times are local/Ireland is four hours behind