ANZ Stadium, Sydney
The Qantas Wallabies have fallen 9 points short in their first outing for 2011 going down Manu Samoa 32-23 in front of 29,808 fans in slippery conditions at ANZ Stadium today.
Samoa led the Qantas Wallabies at half time 17-10 thanks to two converted tries and a penalty goal in the first 30 minutes of play but Australia hit back in the final 10 minutes of the half when Digby Ioane crossed for a try and Matt Giteau slotted the conversion followed by a penalty goal right on half time.
The Australian’s struck first in the second half thanks to another Matt Giteau Penalty Goal, however it was the Samoan’s who, despite being a man short after Leo Daniel was shown yellow in the 37th minute, crossed for the opening try of the second half in the 46th minute.
Beau Robinson made his Qantas Wallabies debut in the 51st minute when he replaced Matt Hodgson but it was the Samoans who were making all the running when George Pisi crossed for the visitors second try of the half to extend their lead to 16-points following another successful conversion by Tusi Pisi.
The Qantas Wallabies reduced the margin to 13 after Giteau slotted another penalty goal in the 58th minute, however that was cancelled out when Tusi Pisi successfully converted a 66th minute penalty goal.
With just 9 minutes left the Qantas Wallabies crossed through Matt Giteau who converted his own try to reduce the difference to just 9 points, however the gap was too great and the Samoans ran out victors 32-23.
Samoa 32: Tries - Alesana Tuilagi (11th minute), Paul Williams (29th minute), Kane Thompsen (46th minute), George Pisi (55th minute). Conversions - Tusi Pisi 3. Pen. Goals – Tusi Pisi 2.
Australia 23: Tries – Digby Ioane (38th minute), Matt Giteau (71st minute). Conversions – Matt Giteau 2. Pen Goals – Matt Giteau 3.
2nd: Samoa Penalty - pen goal – Pisi Tusi
5th: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
6th: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
7th: Accidental offside – scrum to Samoa
11th: Try to Samoa – Alesana Tuilagi
12th: Conversion by Samoa (con –Tusi Pisi)
13th: Penalty to Samoa – kick to touch
15th: Knock-on – scrum to Australia
17th: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
18th: Penalty to Australia – quick tap
23rd: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
26th: Australia Penalty – missed pen goal attempt by Giteau
29th: Try to Samoa – Paul Williams
30th: conversion by Samoa – con – Tusi Pisi
35th: Penalty to Australia
37th: Yellow card Leo Daniel
38th: Try to Australia - Digby Ioane
39th: Conversion to Australia
40th: Penalty to Australia – pen goal – Matt Giteau
41st: Penalty to Australia
42nd: Penalty goal to Australia – pen goal Matt Giteau
46th: Try to Samoa – Kane Thompsen
48th: Samoa missed conversion attempt
51st: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
51st: Nathan Sharpe replaced by Dan Vickerman and Matt Hodgson replaced by Beau Robinson
52nd: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
54th: Samoa possible try sent to TMO
55th: Try awarded to Samoa – George Pisi.
56th: Conversion by Samoa – con – Tusi Pisi
56th: Nick Phipps replaced by Will Genia and Mark Gerard replaced by Kurtley Beale
57th: Penalty to Australia
58th: Penalty Goal to Australia – pen goal – Matt Giteau
59th: George Pisi replaced by Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu
60th: Penalty to Samoa – kick to touch
60th: Ben McCalman replaced by Scott Higginbotham
64th: Penalty to Samoa
66th: Penalty Goal to Samoa – pen goal – Tusi Pisi
66th: Taulafo Sakaria replaced by Census Johnston
69th: Kane Thompsen replaced by Filipo Lavea Levi
71st: Try to Australia – Matt Giteau
72nd: Conversion to Australia – con - Matt Giteau
72nd: Tusi Pisi replaced by Brenton Helleur
76th: Taiasina Tuifua replaced by Manaia Salavea
77th: Schwalger Mahonri replaced by Tii Paulo
80th: Full time score – Samoa 32 v Australia 23
Referee: Marius Jonker
Follow the match on Twitter via #AUSvSAM
Fan Events commence at 11:30am @ Cathy Freeman Park
1991: Australia 9-3 (Pontypool*)
1994: Australia 73-3 (Sydney)
1998: Australia 25-13 (Brisbane)
2005: Australia 74-7 (Sydney)
*denotes World Cup match
Son of former All Black wing legend and later Samoan coach, Bryan ‘Bee Gee’ Williams; Paul has carved out a decent career for himself despite living in his father’s shadow. The goal-kicking fullback played for the Highlanders and Crusaders in Super Rugby, and for Auckland and Canterbury in the New Zealand NPC, before trying his luck further afield with Irish province Connacht, and now (Manchester) Sale in England. Williams scored all of Samoa’s points during its 13-26 loss to England in London last November, with his two tries being the first ever posted by a Samoan in a Test at Twickenham
A wonderfully talented footballer who is equally capable at both halfback and flyhalf, Fotuali’i was once touted as a potential All Black before he last year threw in his lot with his native Samoa. His ability is well known to Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who first introduced him to the Crusaders. Fotuali’i, who will play for the Crusaders again in 2011, has also played for Tasman and Hawke’s Bay in the New Zealand NPC.
Once of the Melbourne Storm, and then briefly the Northern Eagles; Tasesa Lavea has finally made good on all the early promise shown, before his stint in rugby league. Lavea was recruited to the 13-man code by then Storm coach Chris Anderson, after starring for New Zealand Schools in rugby union against its Australian counterpart.
Lavea starred early but gradually fell from grace in Victoria, finally finding his way back to union after a brief stint with the ill-fated joint-merger Eagles on Sydney’s north shore. Lavea resurfaced with the Blues in Super rugby, and Counties Manukau in the NPC, before heading for French club rugby, which also opened up the opportunity to appear for Samoa in Tests.
Another ex-Crusader well known to Deans, Paulo was one of the best hookers on display in the 2010 Super Rugby competition, which resulted in his talents being snapped up by top French club, Clermont Auvergne. A former Kiwi age-grade captain, the robust hooker once played alongside All Blacks Jimmy Cowan, Luke McAlister and Joe Rokocoko in a world champion New Zealand Under-19 team.
Current State of play
Although Samoa has attended the last five Rugby World Cups after missing out on the inaugural event in 1987 when Fiji and Tonga represented the Pacific Islands, advancing beyond the pool phase has not gotten any easier. The team made the quarter-finals on debut in 1991 (lost to Scotland) and again in 1995 (lost to South Africa), but has not qualified since. The visit to Sydney will be a critical opportunity for the Samoan players ahead of another tough assignment in New Zealand later in the year where they find themselves in Pool D, grouped alongside South Africa, Wales, Fiji and Namibia.
Samoa’s most recent international play came on last year’s Spring Tour of Japan, the United Kingdom and Ireland where they won 13-10 in Tokyo before losing Tests narrowly to Ireland (10-20), England (13-26) and Scotland (16-19). Samoa fielded a strong side on that trip, with the players drawn largely from European clubs as its Rugby World Cup preparations stepped up. Most of Samoa’s players are either current of former Super Rugby representatives or boast experience in New Zealand’s NPC.
Did You Know
The 2011 Rugby World Cup will be the first Samoa has attended without Brian Lima. The hard-tackling back, who was known universally as ‘the chiropractor’, finally called it a day after featuring at his fifth world championship in France four years ago.
Lima, who had barely left school when he featured in Samoa’s shock 16-13 win over Wales that set alight the 1991 Rugby World Cup, was the last remaining link from the current team to the celebrated Samoan class of ’91. Lima also played for the Blues, Highlanders and Bristol in England during a distinguished career.
Hanging from the trees:
Samoa’s international against Fiji at Apia in 1924 was an auspicious occasion, and not just because it was the first Test match for both countries. The game kicked off at 7am, so that the Samoan players could still put in a decent days work afterwards. It was also played on a field, the Racecourse Ground in Apia, which contained a tree in the middle of it. Fiji won 6-0 which was a just reward for the visitors, given that the Fijian players had paid their own fares in order to make the trip.
Samoa won its first international a month later, when the Fijians returned to Apia on their way home from games played in Tonga. Second time around, Samoa prevailed 9-3. Incredibly this was to be Samoa’s only Test win for 47 years, as Test outings were intermittent for the country during this period. Win #2 was finally achieved in 1971 when Western Samoa beat New Caledonia and then Tahiti and the Cook Islands to win the fourth South Pacific Championship. Fiji and Tonga, who had shared the previous three editions of that tournament between them, did not compete.
21 MAY 2013