2 May 2016

Sport: Samoa U20s win trophy and promotion to champs

11:21 am on 2 May 2016

Samoa's Under 20 rugby team has won the Junior World Trophy in Zimbabwe with a thrilling 38-32 grand final victory over Spain.

It took a try in sudden death extra time to replacement Tivou Masaga to snatch victory after the teams were locked up at the end of regulation.

Number 8 Elia Elia stood out for the Samoans with his second hat trick of the tournament enabling them to keep in touch with Spain throughout.

The win means Samoa are promoted back into the top level World Championship in 2017.

The victorious Samoa U20 rugby team

The victorious Samoa U20 rugby team Photo: World Rugby

Coach Ramsey Tomokino said his team were elated after the emotional rollercoaster.

"There was all sorts of emotions going into my head as we were heading into the final stages of that game. The boys dug deep and we are really happy, pleased to get the opportunity to go back up to the junior world championship," he said. "

We were here in 2011 and went straight back in 2012 and we wanted to make sure we did the same. The boys are very happy and pleased that we hung tough and stuck in, ground out and gutsed out what was a very good win in the end."

Ramsey Tomokino said the squad's triumph could help turn around the fortunes of Samoan rugby .

He said the win is a step in the right direction for a nation that is passionate about rugby but that has had limited success recently.

"It's huge for back in the islands. We wanted a better future for the next tier of players coming through, which is what we have achieved," he said.

"When Alama Ieremia was appointed Director of Coaching and Head Coach, one of things he speaks about was that the Manu was at the bottom. We struggled with the Sevens, but they are coming right now. The under 20s are at the bottom tier and everything we are trying to do is to lift Samoan rugby and get them into the top echelons or the top playing opportunities that we can."

Meanwhile Fiji won the third place playoff at the tournament, beating Namibia 44-30.

Samoa scored seven tries against Uruguay.

Photo: World Rugby / Marie-Louise van der Sandt.

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