Monday Jul 2, 2018 Samoa edge towards RWC 2019 qualification with win over Germany

Samoa edge towards RWC 2019 qualification with win over Germany
14
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Samoa moved closer to qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup with a comfortable 66-15 victory in the first leg play-off against Germany.

The home side, ranked 17th in the World Rankings (12 places higher than Germany), cruised to a 35-3 half-time lead thanks to tries from Alapati Leiua, Jack Lam and a double from both Melani Matavao and Ed Fidow.

A penalty try and further efforts from Dwayne Polataivao, Joe Tekori and a third from Fidow rounded off a commanding performance.

It was an historic first meeting between the two sides which came about in controversial circumstances. The Germans finished bottom of the Rugby Europe championship having failed to win any of their games.

They also conceded a total of 55 tries in five games.

However, due to three teams – Belgium, Spain and Romania – fielding ineligable players, Belgium and Spain were both docked 30 points, while Romania lost 40 points. 

Germany therefore progressed to the European Qualification play-off against Portugal, which they won 16-13.

It’s no secret that Samoa are the better side and in all reality, deserve to make it to the World Cup next year, but Germany have made significant progress in the past 18 months and their participation in the play-offs is sure to raise the profile of the game in the football-mad country.

The two teams face each other in the second leg on July 14th in Heidelberg.

14 Comments

  •  atilla
    atilla

    Your completely right about Visser DrG. Maybe, he is not the best example. I think it would indeed be more profitable for the Netherlands when he's playing his trade in one the big leagues and takes up coaching afterwards. What I was suggesting is that often good/decent players from lower tier nations are playing for another nation, than their country of birth. This may slow down the growth of rugby in those lower tier nations. However, on the other side, there are players like for example Jens Torfs (and this is the opposite than the Visser situation) who plays excellent rugby in France, but also wears the Belgian jersey. ;-) Such players have the ability to boost rugby in a country where they only know soccer, cycling and a bit of tennis.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    But then on the flip side Atilla, you can't blame someone like Visser for trying to take his rugby to a better level, I don't know what the Netherlands has in the way of rugby teams, or what their version of pro rugby entails, but clearly Visser found favour for a professional club abroad and as such so did his international career. I guess what it would take would be an entirely selfless act from a player to give up the chance of an international career with a 'big' team, so as to highlight their lesser known international team. But then as Im1 said, there's still 14 other players + subs that you need to find.. I suppose if Visser goes back to the Netherlands and takes up a coaching role, he can use his notoriety and experience to bring on the next generation... But I guess it may be a case of 1 Visser training to 2-3 other playing abroad players, who come back and pass on their skill to another 2-3 each and eventually 10 years later, you might have the foundations on which to build..

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    It's a good point on Visser etc, but they would still be looking around to fill the other 14 places on the team. I'm not complaining about it, just highlighting the that it increases the chances that a mistake is made, like thinking great-grandparents are grandparents. What would be great is if World Rugby would incentivise (and allow) players like Visser to play for their native countries a good few years before the end of their career. If Visser started playing for the Netherlands it would massively help the profile and quality of the game just by inspiring the players around him.

    Reply
  •  atilla
    atilla

    "...because they are always going to be looking around to find as many players who are only just eligible to play. So its likely they are going to get something wrong somewhere because they are pushing it so far." They wouldn't have to if players like Tim Visser (born in the Netherlands and playing for Scotland) and Vincent Debaty (born in Belgium, but used to play for France) played for their country of birth. In case of Belgium, there was just a wrong interpretation of the law. Apparently, grand-grandparents are not considered as grandparents ;-).

    Reply
  •  brewer
    brewer

    AMacM is right, quite a few native Germans in the national side. I think there are some who went pro or semi-pro in second-tier French clubs, at least they were some years ago. On a side note - it's a pity the highlights video doesn't show the two German tries. Probably the biggest stage they will have scored upon for a while (barring the return fixture next week). Still great this match is featured here!

    Reply
  •  pickay
    pickay

    I guess it's generally quite hard to create a solid foundation on a club level in a country where the interest of the general public in the sport is low. You would have to work on many fronts to increase the level throughout the country. Good coaches for many clubs, regional clubs need to find regional sponsors, etc... For sure there's things a federation can do, but it will only really work if there's a certain level of interest and support from the public. So I kind of get the trickle-down approach: Easier (and probably cheaper) to focus on a national team, say the 7s team as the poster child, and then hope that this creates enough attention and interest for the grass-roots level to prosper... I am not saying it works, but I kind of see how you could end up with that.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    agree that it is hard even for Italy to beat a tier one team, but I still think USA/Georgia are that one step ahead. I can't say this for certain, but I expect that both teams can field a fully professional team of players, or at least have significant numbers of them. How many fully professional players do Germany, Belgium, Spain have in total? I don't think it is a coincidence that Belgium, Spain and Romania were docked points for fielding ineligible players, because they are always going to be looking around to find as many players who are only just eligible to play. So its likely they are going to get something wrong somewhere because they are pushing it so far.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Realistically though, USA and Georgia probably have a chance of an upset with one of the lower tier one nations after a more than likely underestimation... I think the same sort of happens with Italy, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to get on the wrong end of those lads, but for them to win a game requires Jupiter aligning with Mars, them really getting their shit together and the oppo basically having a really poor show...

    Reply
  •  petersam
    petersam

    The national mens' 7s side, however, is going from strength to strength (it receives significant funding from the national Olympic pot since the sport's inclusion in Rio) and is well worth following!

    Reply
  •  petersam
    petersam

    German Rugby is not where it needs to be to compete at a world cup. However, the game is (slowly) growing here and the more publicity the better. The rich sponsor you mention (the owner of Capri-Sun who happens to be a big rugby fan) did indeed invest a lot in one club (effectively buying it and rebooting it) and the national team, drafting in a lot of players to the club he owns in Heidelberg. However, he recently bought Stade Francais and so, when Heidelberg became the first ever German club to qualify for the champions cup, they were immediately excluded due to a conflict of interests on behalf of the owner. The same chap also scuppered the German national team out of spite at the end of last year by refusing to release players (on his payroll) for the national side's games a week before they started, meaning the Union had to field a scratch B-team with two days preparation time. So, a bit of a mixed bag from him really. All in all, I think the feeling is that it's better that he is gone, but other big sponsors need to be found to promote the sport and support the structures financially at the top level. Neither the previous sponsor nor the German Rugby Union have made any great effort to develop the game here (that falls to the individual states' unions), they focus entirely on the national sides in the hope that somehow managing to scratch together a reasonable national team, composed almost entirely of foreigners who have a vague family connection to Germany, will generate results, which will in turn motivate people to take up the sport. Basically they consistently invest in a top-down, rather than the bottom-up infrastructure necessary to grow the game here. It's nothing new (been like this throughout the 10 years I have lived in Germany) and won't change soon.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    I think it depends on what type of 'lower' tier nation is in question. USA and Georgia are probably the two teams with the most realistic chance to start mixing it at the top level. But teams like Germany are a long way off

    Reply
  •  pickay
    pickay

    With the ranking system in place, at least in theory there should be no real advantage in playing more matches. Points exchange system, so whenever you play, you move up or down the ladder. But I think a problem is that the different tiers are very much separated from each other. So lower tier nations are kind of stuck to play on their level, and then if they somehow manage to reach a play-off game it's a huge step up in terms of competition, and they have to adjust to a whole new level of play within a game or two, which seems near impossible to me...

    Reply
  •  pickay
    pickay

    It's a shame the Rugby Europe championship ended up being a joke with the whole shebang around the Spain-Belgium game and then the rankings being upended due to technical errors by half of the teams. Pretty embarrassing for the sport as a whole. Still nice to see Germany improving and getting a shot at qualifying for the world cup against some tier 2 nations, but it will be interesting to see how that's going to develop. The main reason for their recent improvement must be credited to a billionaire patron, who invested heavily into building professional structures for rugby in Germany. He also brought in a lot of players and coaches from abroad to lift the level of the domestic league and the national team. But now he has decided to withdraw his financial support, mainly out of frustration over the amateurish behaviour of the German rugby federation. So patron gone, money gone... soon the brought-in professionals gone?! Some serious question marks about the sustainability of this whole development there...

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I get that there is a limited number of places and teams need a chance, but it astounds me that a country with such a rugby heritage hasn't already got a spot in the RWC.. Quick note, 6 nations lot, play 5 games in Feb-April, 4? Games in summer tour, 4? Games in autumn tour, so 13 games a year? I guess Rugby championship lot play, 6 games in tournament(?), And 4+4 in tours? So both around the 13-14 games mark? Do the lower tier nations get this opportunity? I'm thinking world rugby rankings? And real genuine opportunities to get to competitions like the world cup?

    Reply

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Samoa edge towards RWC 2019 qualification with win over Germany | RugbyDump