By Alipate J Pareti
Samoa became the only Pacific Island team that won its first game during the Rugby World Cup in Japan with a convincing win over Russia overnight.
It won 34 to 8.
It was clear though that fatigue gripped the Russians from the second half of the match, having to play their second game just four days after their first, against the RWC2019 host last Saturday.
The Russians did cop some huge tackles and discipline may be something the Manu Samoa team needs to watch in their upcoming matches.
Capitalizing on kicking opportunities is also crucial for the boys in blue. They only converted 2 out of7 attempts in the game.
At the start of the game both teams showed their intentions on how they would like to play the game, with Russia hitting the ball up front and playing a tight game while Samoa indicated a more willingness to play a more expensive and fast pace Pacific Islands rugby.
This was highlighted in the 15th minute, when winger Alapati Leiua scored a try from an attack that was initiated from halfway.
Russia replied with converting two penalties goals in the 18th and the 25th minute by centurion capped player Yuri Kushnarev.
Samoans attacked were subdued through the issuance of two consecutive yellow cards on the 27th and 29th minute for dangerous tackles.
The offenders were lucky when they were issued with yellow cards after the match officials reviewed the incidents with the TMO.
The teams went into the tunnels at half time with Russia leading Samoa 6 points to 5.
Second half action started with Samoa no.8 Afa Amosa scoring a try on the 43rd minute. In the process of scoring that try he was injured from an illegal tackle from Russia’s tight-head prop.
Russia replied with a successful drop goal by the no.10 in the 47th minute.
Russia soon showed sign of slowing down and fatigue due to playing their second game after only 3 days’ rest.
The flood-gates started to open as Samoan no.11 winger scored a brace of tries in the 48th and 52nd minute.
This was followed by a try to centre Rey Lee-lo in the 63rd minute.
Samoa’s last try was scored by the man of the match Alapati Leiua in the dying minutes of the game.
Match in brief:
Rugby World Cup 2019
Pool A: Manu Samoa vs Russia
Date: 24th September, 2019
Venue: Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya.
Referee in Charge: Robert Poite
• This the first occasion for the two teams to meet in the RWC or in a rugby 15’s match.
• Samoa is ranked 16th in World Rugby’s current ranking and Russia is 20th.
• This was Manu Samoa’s first match in RWC2019.
• Samoa’s line up was made up of all overseas based players with the exception of Melani Matavao who’s the lone local based player in the squad.
• At the age of 37 Tusi Pisi becomes the most capped player for his country with 39 caps.
• Stand-in captain was Chris Vuli replacing Jack Lam who’s out with an injury.
• This was Russia’s second RWC appearance, the first being in 2011.
• It was the side’s second match for RWC 2019, the first was with tournament hosts Japan on Friday 20th September.
• Russia has yet to win a match in its RWC appearance.
• Yuri Kushnarev becomes Russia’s most capped player with 110 Caps at 34.
• Only two players out of the whole squad play their rugby outside of Russsia, prop forward Valery Morozov for Sale Sharks and and Second-row Andrei Ostrikov who plays for Grenoble in France.