Rugby

Samoa stun Wales

2012-11-17 07:44
Tusi Pisi (AP Photo)

Cardiff - Samoa consigned struggling Wales to a fifth straight loss by winning an attritional test match 26-19 at the Millennium Stadium on Friday, earning the South Sea Islanders a third victory in Cardiff.

The feisty Samoans outscored the Six Nations champions three tries to one, with Faatoina Autagavaia, George Pisi and Johnny Leota crossing and flyhalf Tusi Pisi kicking 11 points.

Despite being outplayed, the Welsh somehow led 13-10 at the break thanks to Ashley Beck's interception try in the 32nd minute.

Leigh Halfpenny's fourth penalty put them 19-18 ahead midway through the second half but Leota's late try sealed a deserved victory for Samoa, a second-tier nation which continues to be Wales' bogey team.

Samoa has now won four of the nine meetings between the two sides, including away wins in 1991 and '99, but none have been more merited than this one.

Welsh rugby was riding the crest of a wave just eight months ago, its national team winning the Grand Slam in the Six Nations soon after reaching the semifinals of the World Cup. They lost a test series in Australia 3-0 in June but could have won all three games - losing by a combined margin of 11 points.

However, confidence has ebbed away and the team produced a dire display in losing 26-12 to Argentina last weekend. Further misery seems likely with New Zealand and Australia still to come over the next two weekends.

The Pacific Islanders brought their usual ferocity with them, some brutal hits in rucks forcing two Wales players - Richard Hibbard and Dan Biggar - off in the first half with shoulder injuries while Ian Evans didn't reappear after the break because of a knee problem.

But they dovetailed hard tackling with some neat offloading, dominating the Welsh with the ball in hand. Wales was only in the opposition 22 once in the first half, when Beck romped over for a try in his first international at home.

Samoa stunned the home crowd by opening the scoring after just 66 seconds, No. 8 Taiasina Tuifua making the initial piercing break before the ball was recycled wide for Autagavaia to score in the right corner.

Halfpenny, Wales' best player on the night, reduced the deficit with two well-struck penalties and Beck put the hosts in front by picking off Tusi Pisi's ill-advised pass along the line and sprinting 60 yards to dive over.

Tusi's brother, George, made amends by restoring Samoa's lead in spectacular fashion, diving acrobatically to ground one-handed in the corner after scrumhalf Kahn Fotuali'i turned Wales over.

Halfpenny and Pisi traded penalties, leaving Samoa 21-19 ahead by the time Lemi hacked clear and substitute Leota followed up to ground the ball in the 77th and clinch a famous win for the visitors.

Read more on:    wales  |  samoa  |  rugby
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