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Barbarians top points table in ASRU McDonnell Dowell Rugby Sevens

Th e victorious Barbarian Brothers

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Barbarian Brothers came agonizingly close to a clean sweep of the three-leg ASRU McDonnell Dowell Rugby Sevens Tournament last Saturday against the Islanders, but it was not to be.

After defeating Avele 26-5 in the first leg, the Barbarians continued their dominant form by shutting out Bula Fiji and managed to score two tries to win 12-0, in the second leg the previous Saturday.

However, their ambitious finals winning streak was ended abruptly by a fired-up Islanders pack.

The game started off well for the Barbarians who drew first blood just minutes after kick-off, when one of their backs scored a well-deserved try near the corner of the field.

However, the conversion attempt was unsuccessful giving them an early 5-0 advantage.

A Barbarians player on the attack as the Islanders’ defenders close in on him during the final of the ASRU McConnell Dowell  Sevens Tournament third and final leg last Saturday. [photo: Asi A. Fa'asau]

The Islanders retaliated with spectacular running attacks and passing but the Barbarians kept them at bay with some equally spectacular defense holding the points at 5-0 when the halftime hooter sounded.

Action continued in the second half with both teams trying their best to break through the other's defense with no luck

It was towards the end of the game with about two minutes left that the Islanders got the break they were looking for when the Barbarians dropped the ball in the middle of the field.

With dexterity, the Islanders playmaker who happened to be at the right place at the right time, scooped it up and sprinted for the tryline with Barbarian players hot on his heels.

But they were too late and he planted the ball firmly underneath the posts to their supporters' delight.

Barbarians and Islanders players contest the ball during a lineout in their ASRU McConnell Dowell Sevens Tournament final clash last Saturday at Kanana Fou field in Ottoville. The Islanders won 7-5. [photo: Asi A. Fa'asau]

Sensing victory within their grasp, the kicker made sure the ball sailed between the uprights as they registered their first points of the game, overtaking the Barbarians by two points 7-5.

With time ticking away, the Barbarians desperately tried to get something going but the Islanders were having none of it and quickly snuffed out their attacks.

The final hooter sounded as one of the Islanders players got hold of the ball and without hesitation, he banged it out of the field as his teammates celebrated their victory.

The third and fourth place game decider was between Avele and Bula Fiji with the Fijians emerging victorious in a narrow 14-12 win.

Pago Pago Eagles defeated Laulii Moli o le Ava 12-0 for fifth and sixth places respectively.

All the games were officiated by ASRU referees because the referees from the Samoa Rugby Union Referees Association were unable to secure any seats on flights to the Territory, due to the many teams from Samoa traveling for the 5th Coca Cola Marist Pago International Sevens 2024 Tournament slated for April 26-27.

At the conclusion of the third and final leg of the ASRU McConnell Dowell Sevens Tournament last Saturday, the points accumulated by each team in the tourney's three legs were tallied to determine the top four teams that will compete in the upcoming Marist Pago sevens.

ASRU President Falefata Moli Lemana presents the trophy of the ASRU McConnell Dowell Sevens Tournament to the captain and vice- captain of the Barbarian Brothers, the champion of the 3-leg tourney. [photo: Asi A. Fa'asau]

The Barbarians topped the points table with 63 points, second place went to the Islanders with 56 points, Bula Fiji and Avele tied at third with 49 points, Laulii Moli o le Ava at fourth with 39 points and Pago Pago Eagles at fifth with 38 points.

However, Bula Fiji pulled out of the competition because many of its players are unable to play due to injuries. Laulii Moli o le Ava have also pulled out due to unforeseen circumstances and have agreed to give the Pago Pago Eagles the opportunity to compete.

So, the four top teams that will represent American Samoa in the 5th Coca Cola Marist Pago International Sevens 2024 Tournament are the Barbarians, Islanders, Avele and Pago Pago Eagles.

Runner-up of the ASRU McConnell Dowell Sevens Tournament and winner of the final leg of the tourney against the Barbarian Brothers, coaches and supporters after the tournament last Saturday. [photo: Asi A. Fa'asau]