SOL23: Samoa snatch third gold in touch rugby

Reigning champions PNG had to settle for silver. Photos: Rihanto Manuga, Pacific Games News Service

Samoa was successful in its campaign to earn all three gold medals in touch rugby at the Sol2023 Pacific Games after edging past defending champions, Papua New Guinea (PNG) at DC Park on Saturday.

The gold medal match saw the PNG side leading in the first half, but the Samoa came back stronger in the second half to seal the victory 7-6, claiming triple gold in the mixed, men’s, and women’s touch rugby tournaments.

Samoan midfielder Arran Rogers told the Pacific Games News Service that it was one of their toughest games.

“It’s always a tough battle against PNG. It went down to the wire, but it went our way.

“It’s a special moment for us because they took all three medals from us in Samoa; we’re happy to get a clean sweep this time.”

Silver medallist and PNG team captain Eugene Eka said: “I really hate the (lack of) preparation ahead of coming here, but we cannot blame anyone but ourselves. It’s not a loss for us, but an experience to build on.

“We will go back, work on ourselves, and come back hard.”

Fiji, though a strong contender in the round-robin play-offs, did not make it into the gold medal match and settled for bronze by beating Cook Islands 12-5.

By Arnold Peter and Willie Fafale, Pacific Games News Service