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.