Samoa start Rugby World cup with Namibia win

Samoa opened their Rugby World Cup campaign with a convincing 49-12 Rugby World Cup victory over Namibia in Rotorua in Pool D.

Winger Alesani Tuilagi scored a hat trick of tries in the match and the result puts the Samoans at the top of the Pool D table and leaves, Samoa, Fiji and Wales with bonus points which could be crucial later in the tournament.

After each team has played one match (Namibia two) the Springboks are third and Fiji second.

The menacing Leicester Tigers winger Tuilagi gave a Jonah Lomu-like performance
to headline Samoa’s explosive opening to the tournament.

The Samoans clocked up six tries to two and the fastest first try of the tournament
against the outgunned Africans.

The thousands of Samoan supporters in the 13,000 crowd lapped it up in the
hot springs resort town, roaring and howling with delight as their team ripped
in with typical gusto.

But the Samoan victory came at a cost with the loss through injury of goalkicking
flyhalf Tusi Pisi and flanker Taiasina Tuifua with just a four-day turnaround
to their all-important Pool D game with Wales in Hamilton.

“We had been waiting the whole week and the boys were itchy to get out
there,” said Samoa skipper Mahonri Schwalger.

“We still got some room for improvement and we are looking forward to
Wales next week. We got a few injuries and hopefully they are not going to be

Namibia counterpart Jacques Burger said: “They hit you hard and are a
classy team and if you make mistakes against them they are going to punish you
and they did today.”

Samoa are in arguably the toughest pool at the World Cup – with South Africa,
Wales, Fiji and Namibia – where at least four teams boast credentials worthy
of filling one of the two quarter-final berths.

Samoa made the rugby world sit up and take notice when they scored four tries
in humbling the Aussies 32-23 in Sydney, just prior to the Wallabies becoming
Tri-Nations champions for the first time in a decade.

The Samoans rocked Namibia in the the opening 47 seconds when scrumhalf Kahn
Fotuali’i fielded a high kick and proceeded to swat off two tacklers to score
the fastest try so far at the World Cup.

Pisi kicked the conversion and a penalty to have Samoa 10-0 ahead against the
shellshocked Namibians in the opening nine minutes.

Explosive winger Tuilaga crossed for his first try eight minutes later storming
on to a great George Stowers pass and barrelling his way over.

Pisi was in immaculate goalkicking form and landed the conversion from wide
out and added his second penalty to have Samoa steaming to a 20-0 lead.

But disaster struck for Samoa in the 28th minute when they lost Pisi and Tuifua
with injuries.

Pisi injured his left hamstring and Tuifua had damaged ribs and it temporarily
threw Samoa out of their stride in the reshuffling of replacements.

Tuilagi powered over for his second try five minutes before halftime to swell
Samoa’s advantage to 25-0.

Samoa had fullback Paul Williams yellow carded in the final minute after crunching
high tackle on Theune Kotze which provoked a push and shove between the players.

Key backs Seilala Mapusua and Fotuali’i were brought off after 50 minutes uninjured
to save them for Sunday’s big match with Wales.

Williams back from the sin bin kicked Samoa into a 28-0 lead with a penalty
minutes later.

Tuilaga completed his hattrick – for his 15th try in 23 internationals –
after a smart break from replacement centre Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono to lead 35-0.

Williams stepped past two tackles to push Samoa past 40 before Namibia got
their first points in the 63rd minute when centre Danie van Wyk raced 35m to
finish off a neat chip and regather from Llewellyn Winkler.


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