12 Sep 2013

Sport: Samoa win Sevens gold as Tonga book trip to Wgtn

4:24 am on 12 September 2013

It may not have been a gold medal but for Tonga sevens coach Manu Vunipola third place at the Pacific Mini Games felt like a win.

The team suffered a rocky build up to the event when regular coach Eddie Waqa and half of the team refused to travel by boat to Wallis and Futuna.

Vunipola stepped in at the last minute and with a bunch of new faces in the team led them to victory in the bronze medal playoff against Papua New Guinea.

The result also secures Tonga a berth at February's Wellington Sevens tournament and an emotional Vunipola says he could not be more proud of his players.

"After the boys finished the game everyone and I looked at everyone's tears coming out because it's unbelievable."

Meanwhile Samoa were too strong for Fiji in the gold medal match, running out 31-12 winners in a perfect tune-up for the start of the IRB World Series next month.