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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Samoa stun Wales with impressive win at the Millennium Stadium

Wales lost at home for the second week running as Samoa claimed a famous 26-19 win at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Friday night. Scoring three tries to one, Samoa were the better side and worthy winners of what was a bruising encounter.

Samoa outmuscled and outplayed the Grand Slam winners, inflicting Wales' fifth defeat in succession. Ryan Jones captained his side for a record 29th time, but had very little to celebrate.

"What could have been the greatest day of my career has turned into one of the worst," Jones said.

"We came second best in quite a few facets of that game. It was a game that slowly slipped away from us and we didn't have enough in the end. But that's not taking anything away from Samoa, who turned up with a physical edge and a gameplan that stopped us playing again."

Samoa started the game in ideal fashion as Wales' defence was breached and Fa'atoina Autagavaia finished off with just a minute on the clock. At the break Wales led the game though, thanks to an intercept try by Ashley Beck and penalties from Leigh Halfpenny.

It was Samoa though that always looked the more dangerous of the two sides, particularly on defence. Richard Hibbard had to leave the field after taking a big knock early on, then Dan Biggar was on the wrong end of a brutal clearout, also injuring his shoulder.

Scrumhalf Kahn Fotuali'i was outstanding for the visitors, marshalling the troops up front and providing quick ball for Samoa's hard running backs. He also played a big part in creating one of the tries of the year, George Pisi's unbelievable effort in the corner.

By the time Johnny Leota scored late in the game, all hopes of a comeback were over for the hosts, who now have the arduous task of preparing for a meeting with the All Blacks next weekend.

Samoa travel to Paris with their tails up, hoping to claim another big scalp in the form of France.

A few discussion points:
- The big tackles, including some from honourary Samoan, Jamie Roberts
- Wales' failed gameplan - where to from here?
- George Pisi brilliance in the corner
- Can Samoa upset France too? 
- How do Henry and Andy Tuilagi not feel the cold?

Below are highlights of the match, including some of the big hits from both sides.

Posted at 11:27 am | 49 comments

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play, Great Tries

Viewing 49 comments

CFL November 17, 2012 2:27 pm

Great Job Samoa!

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BestHookerInTown November 17, 2012 2:53 pm

Well done to Samoa. No real surprise here to be honest, that Samoan team in one of the best they've ever had. Complete team with some of the best running rugby players in the world.

And on your last discussion point, I do think the Tuilagi's don't feel the cold, due to the cold being afraid of them!!!

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sonsofsamoa November 17, 2012 2:56 pm

No suprise to the physicality show by Samoa.. Samoa always have a highlight reel for big hits in every match that they play.. And Wales didn't JUST fail their game plan.. Samoa completely destroyed them.. Wales were unlucky Samoa didn't keep their discipline and composure for the full 80 as well as Pisi missing his penalties and conversions.. Otherwise Samoa would have put 20 on them.. George Pisi's try was AWESOME.. and is testament to Southern Hemisphere style of Rugby (in particular island style of Rugby).. Samoa will now look to France.. We all know Samoa can cause upsets.. But what Samoa are looking for now is consistency in winning.. Samoa HAVE been consistent in terms of scorelines in their last 10 games .. This win over wales will certainly have boosted their confidence and will carry it through to their next game with France.. But it's too close for me to call.. All depends on who will bring it on the day in my opinion. Samoa are a much more balanced outfit now so it's difficult to say who will have the upper hand.. I guess things will be much more easier to assess and analyze when Argentina play France.. As for Henry and Andy Tuilagi I thought you would have known by now that they're not human RD!! haha

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Guy November 17, 2012 3:33 pm

Does anyone know why no Tuilagi brothers were playing?

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browner November 19, 2012 2:53 pm

Maybe selected for England the next day ?

You have to laugh at the Tuilagi Rugby Skills Website .... they identify elite players "with the most potential" ..... & laughably Freddie Jr Moto Tuilagi is named .... & he's age 6 !

http://www.tuilagirugbyskills.com/elite.html

The professional era will ultimately destroy national pride, the 3 year rule is detrimental & already we are seeing the mass import of south sea islanders into europe.... I've said this for 10 years .....look ahead 25 years and picture the england side Born in England will be the minority !!!

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Lifa November 23, 2012 1:22 am

i believe Alesana Tuilagi is injured from Japan and he was name in the 30 man squad for the tour. Henry and Andy Tuilagi are too old and they had their time. Manu Samoa is building towards 2015 World Cup.

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PiZita November 17, 2012 3:47 pm

Where exactly can I find the highlights?

Thanks in adavance

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katman November 17, 2012 4:04 pm

Fecking Jonathan Davies again. Is there a worse commentator in the history of the game? Only thing worse than Davies is Davies when the Welsh are winning. So thank god we didn't have that too.

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Ando November 18, 2012 2:43 am

Stuart Barnes is equally crap...

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Full Back November 18, 2012 8:42 pm

"...'ave a bit of that..." :)

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Mike November 18, 2012 9:38 pm

Brian Moore.

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stroudos November 19, 2012 1:45 pm

Mike. You must be joking. Are you seriously suggesting Brian Moore's a bad commentator? Or have I misunderstood your comment?

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No9scrum November 19, 2012 11:13 pm

Are you seriously suggesting that Moore is a good commentator?

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stroudos November 21, 2012 12:02 pm

One of the best, by a considerable margin.

Notwithstanding the fact he sounds like he's talking with a mouthful of screws, he's very clear and articulate. His in-game analysis is clear and insightful. He is, in my evaluation, the most impartial commentator by a country mile - he will scream abuse at an England player giving away a silly penalty, whereas most other commentators seem instinctively to try and make excuses to defend their compatriots.

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stroudos November 19, 2012 1:42 pm

What's Davies supposed to have done wrong now?

I love hearing him commentate on tackles - ave a bit of that!

And the best bit about Davies is he celebrates good rugby, regardless of who's playing. Anyone who accuses him of bias is very badly mistaken.

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Fearg November 17, 2012 5:17 pm

All that training in Poland doesn't seem to be doing the Welsh any good.

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katman November 17, 2012 5:24 pm

When it comes to withstanding temperatures of up to minus 160 degrees, no one touches them.

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aaman November 17, 2012 6:53 pm

Wales were out muscled, they were trying to go toe to toe with a pack which was more then 3 stone heavier.The Samoans are known for there physicality and showed what they can do attacking wise and defensively.At the start of the game i new Samoa were going to win the defense was superb they were smashing everything and injured more then 2 players.Finally WELL DONE SAMOA !!!

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WAIKATO886 November 17, 2012 10:34 pm

CCHHEEEHHHOOOOO!!!! SAMOAAAA!!!! Well done boyz!!...

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jog1986 November 17, 2012 10:45 pm

People will undoubtedly cite what I am about to say as sour grapes and that is indeed their prerogative, but if it can be disputed then please do so.

While I have no problem with Samoa winning yesterday, they fully deserved to as the outmuscled, out played, out thought, out whatever you can think of and played with the pride pulling on their nation's jersey evidently brings. However, people talk about big hits from the Samoan boys, but a few of the hits that went on during that match were less big and more illegal. Correct me if I am wrong but nowadays, according to the laws, a player when joining a ruck must attempt to use arms and bind onto another player. Case in point is the one shown in the video which led to Biggar's withdrawal. No attempt to bind, shoulder into the head causing injury, and illegal. JD seems to think it was fairplay, JD needs to check his laws again. Also, Halfpenny got absolutely laid out by another 'big' hit when running down the wing. Swinging arm to the face left him flat on his back, Wayne Barnes not 5 yards away.

I take nothing away from the Samoan performance, and had this two incidents been treated correctly they would have received 2 yellow cards and possibly ended up losing a game they thoroughly deserved to win. However, I really wish people would understand what a big hit is and not confuse it with an illegal one.

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sonsofsamoa November 18, 2012 12:13 am

I agree with you .. and I do not see it as sour grapes.. And that to me this is the fault of the officials.. They need to ensure the safety of the game throughout the entire match and I think they only made a mistake on one of them but fairly penalized George Pisi's one.. But I think George Pisi's tackle was marginal as he had swung his arm to wrap around and Halfpenny ducked down into it.. Unlike Filo Paulo's clear out of Dan Biggar, I believe it definitely deserved a yellow card .. it was reckless.. But that's a big lesson for players around the world, who believe the Ruck is dead, Dan Biggar learned first hand that fly halves do not stand around the ruck!!

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Stubby November 18, 2012 7:27 am

I think you will find that it was the upper arm that clipped the head as he swung it around to wrap.

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Full Back November 18, 2012 8:51 pm

It was the shoulder but it hardly matters, you his shoulder went in directly to the head, that's dangerous play the same as a high takle is, it runs the risk of a neck injury. You either get under a player to clean them out, or if they're too low you wrap around their backs without the impact and you roll them out of the ruck.
Well played Samoa though, they played the ball well, it's not just about the hits, they have the steps and running lines that make them difficult to defend against, fair play to them.

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Feddderico November 18, 2012 1:59 am

Congratulations Samoaa!

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WelshOsprey November 18, 2012 4:53 am

Wales had a gameplan? Thats a good one

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Jaded Forward November 18, 2012 6:50 am

I watched the game, and is it just me or is Rhys Priestland basically becoming a Welsh ROG. You can always rely on him to blow a couple tackles, carry into contact with the aggressiveness of a 90 year old lady, and more often than not kick the ball away (poorly) at the first opportunity and then take his sweet time bringing his team on-side. I seem to recall him being a dud in the WC, and last year's 6N. It's time to cut him loose. Leave him in the deep freeze. What sort of form is James Hook in these days?

As for the tackling, and Davies' identified swinging arm: I think that could go either way. However, the headlock-bodyslam at the 60:24 mark seems like a full-on card to me; closer to red than yellow IMO. That isn't how to clear a ruck. That isn't accidental either. It's a malicious play, high, around the neck, and with intent. If you don't harshly penalize dangerous play like that, I think that it damages the credibility of the officials altogether.

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welshhero November 18, 2012 3:49 pm

I think comparing him to ROG is an insult to the irish man (who handles pressure and kicks goals), I dont agree that he was poor in the WC and the 6 nations grand slam; he unlocked the backs very well and did the things you don't see. This season however he has been so sh*t i dont know why he is in the squad.

Wales were very poor, ran in single lines at Samoa = suicide

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katman November 18, 2012 9:12 am

Bakkies Botha got a 4 week ban for a far more innocuous ruck clean on Adam Jones in the Lions tour a few years back. Teams like Samoa certainly get away with more when it comes to this kind of thing because, subconsciously, refs accept it as part of their style of rugby. Much the same way the AB's get away with ruck infringements - it's the way they play the game, so how can you really penalise them for it? :)

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sonsofsamoa November 18, 2012 11:25 am

Definitely katman.. A lot of 50/50 calls are made according to Referees predetermined interpretation.. Just like when England plays and scrums get collapsed? The blame will always be the opposite team because of England's renown scrum.. Or when french players take dives for penalties sake.. lol

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RedYeti November 18, 2012 1:31 pm

Except when England were consistently penalised by Poite against Australia yesterday?

Islanders are always complaining in the comments here about how they are treated unfairly because refs expect them to tackle dangerously and therefore treat them more harshly, so I don't see how you can claim they get away with *more* foul play... Teams like Samoa and Fiji get far more cards for dangerous tackles than any other teams: Fiji had two yellows for high and late tackles against Scotland yesterday.

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Pretzel November 18, 2012 2:09 pm

@Red Yeti, that's interesting, I though Scotland played South Africa yesterday...

Actually, on a side note, anyone noticed how the losing Scotland team has not resorted to penalty after penalty after penalty? 2 games against better teams and both the better teams have had yellow cards...

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Pretzel November 18, 2012 2:07 pm

I think other than the fact that Bakkies went off his feet at the end of the "Adam Jones incident" is the only reason that I would have a slight issue with it. Otherwise it was a fairly "legal" clearout...

Perhaps Bakkies knew EXACTLY what he was doing and was attempting to remove Adam Jones from the game, however he went about it in an "almost legal" fashion.

I do think that it was perhaps the fact that he is regularly "nasty" on the pitch and has probably has a bigger record than Billy the kid, which was the reason for the ban. There has to be consistency with bans: "Yes", however, two players who do the exact same thing can rightly receive different punishments taking into account their previous indiscretions... If Bakkies was a saint throughout his life, this may have been chalked down as "an accident", but because it's Bakkies and we all know what he gets up to, its "clearly, a demonstration of brutality, blah blah"...

You say that teams like Samoa get away with certain things more often, but how many times have we seen yellow cards/penalties for perfectly legitimate "P.I. tackles" because the referee's "subconsciously" know that no Pacific Islanders wrap, and it would be impossible to make a whiplash inducing tackle if they had wrapped....only to see on the replays that it was a perfect tackle...

Swings and roundabouts, P.I'ers get HAMMERED by the referee's for clean hard hits, so it's only natural that a referee would ignore the illegal bits...

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Guy November 18, 2012 10:18 am

How often do you see Jamie Roberts being run over...by a scrumhalf?! MAde up for it with a solid hit, by the way.

Physical stuff. Love it when the underdog wins. Wales is starting to look semi-dimensional.

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sonsofsamoa November 18, 2012 11:10 am

If you know Fotuali'i he isn't a normal scrumhalf Guy .. The guy is a rugby genius and was all black bound until he announced his allegiance to Samoa!

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FelipeG November 18, 2012 1:19 pm

I like this samoan team. But their tackles are often very very very borderline. Look back at their australian win one or two years ago...same thing. Every australian attack was stopped by two pretty high tackles, on two aussies, at almost the same time! and it was beautiful to watch, but not legal imo. Obviously, only one wallaby had the ball!
Maybe the referees think they have to respect Samoa's cultural identity :-) More seriously, a subconscious acceptance of it like a style of rugby...that's well seen and said. Same thing with the scrum indeed. Sometime it s just impossible to see what the problem is. But you know one team has allegedly the best scrum...so that's it.
Still, I hope France will show them there is more to the game than big hits and dirty play. And i hope nobody will die because I must saiy, after the puma beeing wounded yesterday, and this samoan rampage in Wales... there was a couple of sickening clashes that made me very worried about the health of the player.

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welshhero November 18, 2012 4:07 pm

Wales were terrible.

They ran single lines at Samoa, which is a bad idea. I can also vouch that Richard Hibbard will not have long bleached blond hair and silver boots next time he plays Samoa, ha.

Samoa are good at the big hits and its no shock that that no2, no8, no10 and no15 had had a hiding in the first 60mins, they know when a yellow is worth risking.

Wales have it all wrong in my opinion, North and Cuthbert shouldn't play together as neither can drop into scrum half when Philips is having a scrap at the bottom of a ruck (every other phase). To make this worse wales use Philips in the defensive line all the time and neither North or Cuthbert sweep infield (in defense or attack). Besides we dont use their size or pace anyway.

Priestland and Biggar are like for like, both are an attacking target due to their small size and neither have a presence on the field. Hook aint bright enough in my opinion, Cardiff have a youngster (Patchell) who has the attributes and its time we started looking for a bigger (pun!) no10.

Most of all wales weren't hungry enough, there was a period at 60mins when Samoa were tired when it looked like we might wake up but the game slowed into scrum and kicks yet again. I did however enjoy the game and Samoa were a delight to watch and full credit to them.

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kadova November 18, 2012 6:32 pm

IMO, Wales had not got over their defeat aggaints Argentina. And they knew Samoa beat them some times.
They were kicking too much and not playing the ball as much as they're used to do.
Samoans are very physical, as all PI are, adn everybody knows their tackles can be too high and/or borderline.

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browner November 20, 2012 8:30 pm

The bit I never understand is ........ "everyone knows their hits cross the safety borderline"

Yet 'everyone' does nothing about it ........

The injury rate of top players is increasing, careers are being shortened & players getting bigger..... this is the slippery slide----professional training methods are making the game impact dangerous.

the law makers need to get a grip on this .....for the good of the sport

Most club squads are 40-50 players in it because 10-12 are injured at any one time !!

I love rugby, but I fear for it.

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brolly21 November 18, 2012 6:44 pm

Am always amazed by how much the Welsh complain about perceived faults or cheating by their opponents when, over the years they have been the outstanding "professionals" in the home international series. I wonder why?

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Sankeor November 18, 2012 8:42 pm

Quoting RD:
"A few discussion points:
- The big tackles, including some from honourary Samoan, Jamie Roberts
- Wales' failed gameplan - where to from here?
- George Pisi brilliance in the corner
- Can Samoa upset France too?
- How do Henry and Andy Tuilagi not feel the cold?"

2 additional questions:
- Ashley Beck's try... Do you think he was offside ?
- The clearance at 2'35" in the video: does it deserve a citing ? (player using the elbow to strike the opponent, clearly a malicious play imo)

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browner November 19, 2012 3:01 pm

Beck Offside?.......you can't tell from this clip angle .......ball leaves ruck at 1.49s catches ball at 1.51, so in theory he's quite capable of running 8-10 meters in 2 seconds

Citing, yes for me..... this style of head smashing has become routine....STOP IT LAWMAKERS .....for kids sake

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Juggernauter November 18, 2012 11:28 pm

Well to me this game just showed how average Cuthbert really is. His lack of attitude while trying to tackle the Samoan no 8 in the first try is pretty embarrasing (no, I probably wouldn't be able to tackle that beast as well, but hey I'm not a pro rugby player).

It's about time Samoa are treated like a tier 1 country. To me, they are just as good as my beloved Scotland and they deserve to be considered as such.

And "tier 1" countries MUST start touring the islands and Japan. It's time to expand the game, the statu quo is no longer due.

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browner November 19, 2012 3:04 pm

Juggernauter makes sense................................ Until the scotland comment !

The sweaties are a third world rugby nation .... bring back finlay calder !!

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socalRugby November 19, 2012 6:12 am

Jog1986 you should stick with soccer as your sport

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moddeur November 19, 2012 12:44 pm

Looked like a very intense match.
Nice effort to stay on the field by Pisi (for his try)!
The clearout on Dan Biggar seemed somewhat illegal, but I can't be sure.

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browner November 19, 2012 3:09 pm

Jamie Roberts tackle had exactly the same "completion" position as Rob Simmons tackle on Nyanga .......... Both were fine, both players landed on their backs with their feet in th air.......both perfect IMO , but, NYanga rolls around like Ronaldo & Simmons gets punished

Inconsistent standards must be removed

Bang the drum Rugby dump

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Oliver November 20, 2012 10:29 am

I'm not going to bother arguing here.

So please buy glasses.

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Leadbitter November 20, 2012 3:33 pm

I just get the sense that the Welsh team have been found out. Whilst some brilliant rugby has come out the men in red in recent seasons and not forgetting some terrific stuff at the world cup, the difference between them being Grand Slam champions and possibly 3rd came down to some very marginal calls.
Namely, the last minute penalty that saw them win the Irish game and the one off mistake by Courtney Lawes / dissalowed try, allowing victory against England. They came just the right side of two test matches and were rightly crowned champions; were the really that good?
Its hard not to talk about Wales going backwards without doing a huge injustice to the performances of both Argentina and Samoa. Both have bridged that 10% gap it seems, being able to play for the full 80 and more importantly at the intensity needed to compete with the big boys. I expect that Wales our the first of a few teams that come off second best in the next few years to come.
Coming back to Wales being found out; stop the big runners, stop Wales. Perhaps we were all in shock at sheer size of North and company to start with but he has been made to look quite ordinary in recent weeks. Good tackle technique and line speed seem to be the winning formula, the rest of the six nations should take heed. We all need Wales to get back on track, as they surely will; a good Wales means a good six nations, especially as France seem to have gone up a gear and England (arguably) continue to take tiny steps forward with their lower capped squad.

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browner November 20, 2012 8:36 pm

Add in ..........a blatant knock on, ........a deliberate flap into touch, ..........and holding on after the tackle 3m from the try line [roberts on tuilagi] & the taffy's should've had 3 in the bin, they escaped through poor officialling ...... outplayed by england ....& england aren't great very predictable & slow.

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