Samoa shock Fiji to win Paris 7s
Samoa stun Fiji to win first sevens title in four years.
Samoa completed a stunning comeback to beat Fiji in the final of the Paris Sevens on Monday.
It's the first tournament victory for the Manu since 2012 and comes after they were thrashed by their Pacific rivals in pool play a day earlier.
Vinnie Wylie spoke with Samoa head coach Damian McGrath.
DAMIAN MCGRATH: I never in my wildest dreams when we woke up this morning thought that we could go through the day. We played three probably the most physical teams here in South Africa, Argentina and then Fiji and to put in the sort of performances that we did made me really proud.
VINNIE WYLIE: You talked about consistency all through this season and those sort of results seem to be happening a little bit more regularly now.
DM: It's been a long, hard eight-nine months the players have put in. We've done out fitness work as we've gone along. It's been a long-term plan and that's been hard to do because we've had so much pressure and expectation from home - people want instant results - but the players have held their nerve and been patient and the people that count at the Samoa Rugby Union have done the same, and I hope we've repaid some of that with this cup win today
VW: And of course you realise that with this victory that expectation is going to go up even further?
DM: Ha, I just said that to the boys in the changing room that it's a great feeling but now we will be expected to produce that every time, but if we want to be the team I think we should be then we should be aiming high. I've always felt we were a quarter final team, come what may, and our consistency lets us down. We've proved that over the last two or three tournaments that we can make the quarter finals (and) we've shown today that when our self-belief and resolve is right, we can match it with anybody - and to beat Fiji, after the way they beat us yesterday, is a really satisfying thing.
VW: You're down 21-0 after about nine minutes - how on earth do you come back from there?
VW: As much as they beat us quite easily last night (in the pool stage) we were again the architects of our own downfall and we spent a lot of time analysing that last night. We didn't lose so much as give it away. Fiji are a good team and we don't need to offer them opportunities and that was our mantra going into the final. We didn't get off the to best of starts but the players stuck to the plan that we hatched and it came good for us. We were coming home strong with a wet sail in the second half and once we got our foot on the jugular we kept it there and it's testament to the way the players performed.
VW: How do you ensure this result makes you kick on - obviously you've got some very important events coming up in the future?
DM: Our aim is still Monaco and the (Olympic Games) repechage. I just want to get through the next tournament relatively injury-free so we can concentrate on the real target for our season. I said to the players afterwards it's a shame if we waste everything we've done through the year by not fulfilling our real potential and getting to the Olympics to represent the country.
VW: You're obviously going to back the locals now. This just must be huge for them to show what they're capable of and against a Fiji team that had called in a number of their overseas stars?
DM: That's the thing I don't think many people realise - we are a bunch of amateurs. It's boys from the villages in Samoa and amateurs from clubs in New Zealand and we come up against Super Rugby players and full internationals - lots of the squads have brought their gun teams this weekend because it's their last route before the Olympics - so we really have punched above our weight but it just shows what self-belief and confidence can do, and no little talent obviously from them.
VW: Any message for the people back home?
DM: Well just thank you. Thank you because they have been patient with us and seen what we're trying to do. They've seen the improvements as the year's gone on and I just want to say this is for them for that patience they've shown and we appreciate their support.
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