Rugby World Cup 2023, France. Samoa have secured a bonus-point victory over Chile to win their opening Pool D match by 43 points to 10 in Bordeaux.
Just four minutes in, top points scorer for Australia at the 2019 World Cup, Christian Leali’ifano, got himself on the score board for Samoa in his Rugby World Cup debut for his country of heritage.
Chile then gave the Samoan fans at home and across the globe a scare when they crossed over for a try – just six minutes into the match.the
From an average clearance kick by Samoa Chile’s fly-half Rodrigo Fernandez picked up the ball and provided all the forward momentum they needed to score.
Fernandez, who had won World Rugby’s try of the year for 2022 with a sensational score against United States in their qualifying play-off was brought down a meter out from scoring but his team-mates were in support.
A pick-n-go later and Chile were in the lead by 7-3.
It got worse for Samoa when they conceded a yellow card in the lead up to that try for a late tackle. Ulupano Seuteni would be the player sent off.
Samoa kept their cool while playing with 14 men and kicked 2 penalties in that time. The Manu were leading 9-7 when Seuteni returned to play.
A Chilean player, Santiago Videla took a serious knock to the head and had to go off for an HIA (head injury assessment). He is replaced by his brother, Benjamin Videla.
Both teams would exchange penalties to have Samoa lead 12-10 with minutes left until the break. On the stroke of halftime Samoa would finally scored their first try of Rugby World Cup 2023.
From a scrum, Tumua Manu put in a pinpoint chip kick for Seuteni. An easy draw and pass by Seuteni put Duncan Paia’aua away in the corner for a brilliantly executed backline try.
At halftime Samoa led 19-10 but the Manu would return from the break and extend that lead to 24-10 two minutes into the second half.
It came via a beautiful set piece move that saw Player-of-the-Match Theodore McFarland slice through the defence. He defies his number five with some quick feet, before popping the ball back up for Jonathan Taumateine to aerobatically grab and ground in the corner.
From there the floodgates opened with Samoas shifting up two gears to show what they can do when they get their attacking rugby fully flowing.
Manu Samoa would take a brilliant lineout via Theodore McFarland and then literally walk their maul over the try line. As the pile of men cleared up it was Fritz Lee who stood up to claim the try.
A 29-10 lead quickly became 36-10 as Samoa’s forwards showed up the Chileans inexperience.
It was again the Samoan forward pack with an elite driving maul. This time it was Sama Malolo who would score for Samoa.
The match would stay at 36-10 right up until the 80th minute.
As the match ended Samoa would break the 40-point mark after another Sama Malolo try. You guessed it, another rolling maul in what could have been a replay of the previous try.
World Cup debutants Chile have now lost two pool matches to Samoa and Japan, who have both secured bonus points against them.
England have clinched a win over Argentina and will play Japan on Sunday.
Samoa play Argentina next Saturday 23 September before they face Japan on September 29th and will end the pool stage with England on October 8th.