It’s crunch time for Samoans

Pool D is liv­ing up to its name as the pool of death

South Waikato News - - RUGBY WORLD CUP -

Samoa opened their cam­paign in true Samoan style against Namibia to a huge crowd in Ro­torua on Wed­nes­day.

The sun shone on a beau­ti­ful af­ter­noon and Samoa did also.

A dom­i­nant per­for­mance by their for­ward pack pro­vided a great plat­form for their backs to run around. Their scrum was in com­plete con­trol over Namibia and the kick­ing of Pisi gave them good field po­si­tion.

Tuilagi lived up to the hype and ran in three tries, he just needs to trans­fer the ball to his out­side arm so he can fend off the tack­lers.

Namibia won pos­ses­sion stakes but their missed tack­les proved the turn­ing point, other­wise the stats were fairly even.

South Africa proved too strong for Fiji at the Cake Tin in Welling­ton. I thought the re­sult would have been a lot closer but the ex­pe­ri­ence of South Africa proved too much.

South Africa needed to put on a good per­for­mance af­ter sneak­ing through against Wales and they did. They ham­mered Fiji in close to the ruck, draw­ing in de­fend­ers which cre­ated gaps for their backs to run through.

The Spring­boks dom­i­nated the game with at­tack­ing rugby and strong de­fence, al­low­ing Fiji only three points on the board. Fiji will be dis­ap­pointed con­sid­er­ing their run out against Namibia and both teams had seven days to pre­pare for the game.

The match of the week was the re­match of the 91/99 world cup pool games of Samoa/Wales to a sell-out crowd in Hamil­ton.

Samoa was look­ing for an up­set and Wales was look­ing for re­venge. The game lived up to all its ex­pec­ta­tions and kept the vo­cal crowd on the edge of their seats.

Gat­land showed re­spect for Samoa and named his strong­est li­ne­out, un­for­tu­nately for Samoa, in­juries re­ceived in the first game didn’t re­cover and Pisi was missed at first five. Lavea had a mare and should have been re­placed early, I would have moved Kahn out to first five a lot ear­lier.

Samoa had more pos­ses­sion and were dom­i­nant around the ruck and maul but the fa­tigue fac­tor be­gan to set in in the sec­ond half, be­ing their sec­ond game in four days. Some soft tack­les deep in the Welsh half led them to score the match­win­ning try.

The bonus point could be the de­cid­ing fac­tor to get Samoa through to the next round, they are sit­ting in sec­ond place.

South Africa play Namibia on Thurs­day and will prob­a­bly use this game to rest a few play­ers.

The match of the week will be Fiji/Samoa on Sun­day at Eden Park. Samoa needs to win with a bonus point to stay in con­tention and Fiji will be look­ing for their sec­ond win. It will be an epic bat­tle of the Pa­cific.

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