Rugby World Cup: Samoa keep hopes alive

By Patrick McKendry

George Stowers of Samoa goes over to score their second try. Photo / Getty Images
George Stowers of Samoa goes over to score their second try. Photo / Getty Images

Samoa 27
Fiji 7

Samoa kept their quarter-final hopes alive with a 27-7 victory over Fiji at Eden Park today.

Now they have the small matter of a victory over the Springboks at North Harbour Stadium on Friday to aim for.

It will take a step up in performance to beat South Africa, but they never needed to get out of third gear against Fiji today.

The heavy rain during the afternoon eased for kick off but Samoa's conservative game plan of playing for territory and kicking the points as they arose paid off.

Fiji needed to somehow get a foothold on the match but losing the ball in contact or in rucks just added to the Samoan onslaught. Such was Samoa's territorial advantage, it took Fiji 31 minutes to get into the opposition's 22m.

This has been a poor tournament for Fiji who, with only Wales to come, are unlikely to get another win to go with their victory over Namibia.

And in that match they conceded 25 points.

They hardly fired a shot in the big loss to South Africa in Wellington and today their scrum went backwards from the start and they could hardly do anything else right.

In front of a sold-out stadium of 60,327, Samoa had it all their own way for a good three-quarters of the match and in Tuis Pisi they had a first-five who took charge right from the kick off.

Pisi coolly slotted two penalties then dropped a goal from 30m for good measure.

Another Pisi penalty from wide on the right put Samoa 12-0 up at the break.

They could have been further ahead but for two TMO decisions that went against wings Sailosi Tagicakibau and Tuilagi in the first half.

For Tagicakibau's, wing Naipolioni Nalaga did extremely well to get underneath him to prevent the try.

Fiji hinted at a fightback after the break when No8 Sisa Koyamaibole went on a powerful surge within Samoa's 22m.

Kahn Fotuali'i scored the game's first try, the halfback doing well to jink and reach out after a run close to the line through heavy traffic.

As the sun began to shine, Fiji at last began to win some quick ruck ball and it paid off with a try to blindside flanker Netani Talei.

Unfortunately for him and Samoa, his counterpart George Stowers replied straight away.

Samoa's replacement hooker, former Crusader Ti'i Paulo, was knocked out in the final stages of the match after attempting a tackle on centre Gaby Lovobalavu and colliding with team-mate Stowers.

Samoa 27 (Kahn Fotuali'i, George Stowers tries; Tusu Pisi 4 penalties, dropped goal; Paul Williams conversion), Fiji 7 (Netani Edward Talei try; Waisea Sedre Luveniyali conversion). HT: 12-0.

- APNZ

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