Lima: ‘No Samoan slip-ups’

Veteran midfielder Brian Lima, who believes Samoa probably helped England on their way to World Cup glory four years ago, said there will be no repeat of the slip-ups that allowed England to steal a win in Australia in 2003.

Lima, the only player to feature in five World Cups, remains a key part of coach Michael Jones’ plans.

The 35-year-old will line up in the crunch Pool A clash against England in Nantes on Saturday, with memories still fresh of an absorbing group game between the countries in 2003.

England eventually triumphed 35-22, but they trailed at half-time and were close to being on the receiving end of a monumental upset before belatedly resuming normal service.

“We stayed in with a real chance until they changed tactics during the final quarter, with Jonny Wilkinson kicking the ball across the field,” Lima said.

“I believe that game was a wake-up call for England, and it helped them during that tournament.

“They didn’t underestimate any opponent after eventually beating us, and then they went all the way to win it.”

Lima, nicknamed ‘The Chiropractor’ for his ferocious tackling ability, is among three survivors from Samoa’s starting XV that day.

England also have three – Wilkinson, lock Ben Kay and flanker Joe Worsley – and if anything, the stakes are even higher this time around.

Samoa, hugely disappointing in losing to Tonga last week, will bow out of the tournament should England topple them at Stade de la Beaujoire.

But a Samoan success would leave them needing a bonus-point victory over the United States next Wednesday to probably secure a quarter-final place.

Lima is among six Guinness Premiership players in the Samoan back division, while two English-based performers – Saracens prop Census Johnston and Wasps flanker Daniel Leo – feature up-front.

“We are all very clear on the significance of this game and what it means in terms of what we represent in terms of our country, our families, all the good things we play for,” the coach, Jones, said.

“If we get it wrong – we don’t even want to think about that.

“The boys are excited, they are very bubbly and very focused.

“England are just as desperate as we are. They have their backs against the wall too. They will come out fired up.

“There is a typical England look to this team. With Jonny Wilkinson back, it’s a pretty complex team.

“People talk about the old look of the team – at the last World Cup they were called Dad’s Army and the geriatrics – but we’ve got a lot of respect for England, and I think they have a lot of respect for us too.”

 

365 Digital

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