Samoans seek first win

Samoan prop Census Johnston has spoken of the team’s desperation to ensure the Class of 2007 doesn’t become the first team from his country not winning a game at the World Cup.

The Samoans have twice reached the quarter-finals – in 1991 and 1995 – while also causing a major upset in 1999 by beating hosts Wales in Cardiff. Even in 2003 they won two matches.

However, despite having been regarded as a good bet to reach the play-offs before the tournament, the injury-ravaged Samoan team has lost all their matches this time round – going down 7-59 to South Africa, 15-19 to Pacific rivals Tonga and 22-44 to England at the weekend.

Samoa have lost 12 players from their original squad of 30 including three during the loss to England at the weekend. Flanker Daniel Leo broke his wrist, number eight Henry Tuilagi damaged his left shoulder and scrum-half Junior Polu suffered concussion.

Compounding their woes, replacement prop Fosi Palaamo is returning home due to a family illness.

Johnston, who is part of the injury crisis after sustaining a shoulder injury, described the injury as a “mere niggle” compared to the pain of losing.

“The pain of the loss [to England] and the knowledge that the tournament is finished for us, that’s got to be one of the worst things,” he said.

Samoa are now looking to the future and for the solid prop, the future begins in their final pool match against the United States on Wednesday.

“Hopefully we can give something back to our people at home and put on a win,” he said.

But Johnston remained coy when asked how big a win it would be.

“A win is a win,” he said. “Obviously we need to get that win no matter how. Whether it’s one point or 20 points, it just needs to be a win.”

 

365 Digital

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