Samoa upset wobbling Wales in Cardiff

Samoa handed Wales their fifth consecutive loss with a 19-26 upset at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Friday night.

The victory is Samoa’s fourth over Wales and will do the hosts no favours as the Rugby World Cup Champion All Blacks visit Cardiff next week.

The result drops Six nations Grand Slam champions Wales down to eighth in the Rugby World rankings after last week’s loss to Argentina and three losses to Australia in June.

Fa’atoina Autagavaia, George Pisi and Johnny Leota all crossed as the Six Nations
champions suffered a similar fate to their predecessors.

Memories of famous World Cup shocks from 1991 and 1999 came flooding back as
the ferocious tackling and clinical finishing of the visitors rocked hosts Wales.

But unlike those wins of the past, this was far les of a surprise given the
mess Welsh rugby suddenly finds itself in following three losses in Australia
and defeat last week to Argentina.

Ashley Beck’s interception try before half-time handed Wales a 13-7 lead and
appeared to have settled home nerves after falling behind to an early try only
for second-half scores from Pisi and Leota wrapped up a deserved victory for
the Pacific islanders.

Samoa made a dream start with a try little more than a minute into the game
that stunned the 44,000 crowd at the Millennium Stadium.

Number 8 Taisasina Tuifu’a made yards after breaking through in midfield. Fly-half
Pisi was quick to spread the attack wide where Paul Williams and George Pisi
combined to hand full-back Autagavaia a straight-forward finish from close range.

Pisi converted for an early 7-0 lead that was almost stretched further only
for the fly-half’s penalty to struck the post.

Samoa lived up to their reputation as fearsome tacklers and Wales hooker Richard
Hibbard was the first to take the full brunt of the south sea islanders, forced
off after just 18 minutes.

It summed up an uncomfortable opening for the hosts who were still reeling
from their defeat to Argentina six days earlier.

Wales slowly regained their composure as Halfpenny cut the deficit to a single
point with two penalties while Pisi missed a second effort.

Just a minute later and another mistake by Pisi led to Wales taking the lead
through Beck.

Samoa were full of ambition as they pressed forward but Pisi’s arching pass
intended for his brother was easily telegraphed by the Welsh centre who galloped
70 metres up field to score his team’s first try of the autumn series.

Samoa ended the half with a Pisi penalty and wasted no time in regaining the
lead after half-time with a second try.

Ashley Beck was robbed of possession and Kahn Fotuali’i turned defence into
attack, skipping past Jamie Roberts before Pisi finished acrobatically in the
corner with a superb piece of individual skill to touch down in mid-air.

Pisi missed the conversion before exchanging a series of kicks with Halfpenny
as the lead changed hands five times during the second half.

Leading 21-19, Samoa repelled a rare attack by Wales who, for the second week
in a row, failed to show any threat with the ball.

Instead it was Samoa who had the final say when David Lemi kicked ahead, Halfpenny
and Autagavaia both missed the bouncing ball to leave replacement Leota to touch
down for the match-winning try two minutes from time.

Final Score Wales 19 (13) Samoa 26 (10)


Tries: Beck
Penalties: Halfpenny 4
Conversions: Halfpenny

Tries: Autagavaia, Pisi, Leota
Penalties: Pisi 3
Conversions: Pisi


Wales (15-1)

Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Ashley Beck, Jamie Roberts, George North;

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