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Saturday Sep 4, 2021

Two decades on and 105m Tuilagi try remains one of Samoa's greatest ever

During a Test match between the Springboks and Samoa in Pretoria almost 20 years ago Freddie Tuilagi scored one of the greatest counter attack tries in international history.

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Following a knock on from Boks scrum half Bolla Conradie just a metre from the try line, the Samoans decided to attack the South Africans when they least expected it.

Fly half Earl Va’a dummied a clearance kick behind his own goalposts and found Kitiona Viliamu with a pass to his lefthand side with several Springboks charging towards the flanker.

Viliamu then stepped Victor Matfield and made a break down the middle of the pitch up to almost the 22-metre line before finding an offload for Tamato Leupolu to take contact.

The Samoans weren’t satisfied with the 20-metre gain however, and they spread the ball wide and after a series of intricate offloads they broke through the South African defence with lock Leo Lafaiali’i making a clean break.

Lafaiali’i’s ranging strides took the Samoans deep into the Springboks half where he drew the final defender and found Freddie Tuilagi, who escaped the tackle of Stefan Terblanche for a free run to the line.

This 105-metre try is possibly one of the best in Samoan rugby history and is a fine example of counter attacking rugby at the very highest level of the game.

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With the Springboks already up 10-0 in the first quarter, this was exactly the response needed by the visitors at Loftus Versfeld. However in the end the hosts proved too powerful and ran away with a 60-18 win in Pretoria.

Samoa have never beaten the Springboks in the nine fixtures played between the two nations with a 13-5 defeat at the 2011 World Cup being the closest the islanders have come to taking a win.

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