Samoa was denied a historic Rugby World Cup win over England in a thrilling 18-17 pool match that every Samoan fan up in the early hours of White Sunday morning (Samoa Time).
It took England just nine minutes to cross Samoa’strylinee when Farrell put Manu Tuilagi into acres of space before a draw and pass put away Ollie Chessum for England’s first.
Manu Samoa were dangerous on attack but just couldn’t get their hands on the ball in the first 20 minutes.
Owen Farrell would add on three more for England before Manu Samoa would go on an attacking year with Nigel Ah-Wong scoring twice in quick succession..
Tumua Manu would intercept an England pass before finding Neria Foma’i who chips it ahead. England make a mess of it and give the ball back to Samoa who spread it wide.
Theo McFarland and Sama Malolo take strong carries to take Samoa short of the tryline. One more shift to the right where some silky passing put away Nigel Ah Wong for Samoa’s first.
Ten minutes later Samoa worked themselves into prime field position with all the confidence in the world.
Fullback Duncan Paia’aua started the play with a cross kick to McFarland who was all alone on the wing.
An offload to Malolo took Samoa within 5 meters of the try line. Under advantage, Danny Toala would utilise another cross kick which fell into the bread basket of Ah Wong.
Acrobatically, Ah Wong managed to ground the ball just milliseconds before stepping out of bounds.
Then Duncan Paia’aua crossed over for what appeared to have been Samoa’s third try. Man of the Match Lima Sopoaga had already taken the coversion with the scoreboard showing 19-8 when the TMO makes a controversial call to harshly disallow the try.
England would go into halftime in shock after conceding 19, sorry, 14 unanswered points.
The second half started with Sopoaga and Farrell trading 3 pointers for an 11-17 score line to Samoa.
Farrell had a chance to narrow the gap by three but failed to kick the penalty before the alloted time to the shock horror of English fans.
The majority of the second half was spent in Samoa’s own half with England throwing everything at them.
Credit to the men in blue who stuck it out until an unfortunate yellow card to Tumua Manu shifted the momentum.
Vaovasamanaia’s impact players were brought in off the bench but with a man down, England’s Danny Care scrolled over off a 5 meter scrum to touchdown under the sticks.
The conversion put England infront for the first time since the early start of the game but with a one-point 18-17 deficit, the Manu fought til the last second of the match.
In the dying seconds Samoa fans in the stands and across the globe were on their feet as the Manu swept upfield again with Neria Fomai in space down the left. But Danny Care makes a try-saving tackle, and while the ball was offloaded to Motuga, the ball pops loose for England to clear.
A passionate Manu Samoa side left everything out on the field but couldn’t secure what would have been an historical upset win over England.
The Player of the Match went to Samoa’s Lima Sopoaga.
At the post match interview Captain Michael Ala’alatoa said they had left everything out on the field and was proud of the boys who had given their all for the full 80 minutes.
Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua said he was heartbroken for his players who deserved more than what the scoreboard said.
“Every single one of the these players can hold their head up high and be proud of their performance tonight..”
Samoa’s 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign once again comes to an end after the pool stages. The side have not made a quarterfinal since 1995.
ENGLAND Freddie Steward; Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May; George Ford, Alex Mitchell; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Dan Cole; Maro Itoje, Ollie Chessum; Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Ben Earl
Replacements: Theo Dan, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, George Martin, Billy Vunipola, Danny Care, Marcus Smith, Ollie Lawrence
SAMOA Duncan Paia’aua; Nigel Ah-Wong, Tumua Manu, Danny Toala, Neria Fomai; Lima Sopoaga, Jonathan Taumateine; Jordan Lay, Sama Malolo, Michael Alaalatoa (captain); Sam Slade, Brian Alainu’u’ese; Theo McFarland, Fritz Lee, Steven Luatua
Replacements: Seilala Lam, James Lay, Paul Alo-Emile, Sootala Fa’aso’o, Alamanda Motuga, Melani Matavao, Christian Leali’ifano, Miracle Faiilagi.