Samoa opened their Rugby World Cup account with a 34-9 victory over Russia, but it was not without controversy. Two dangerous tackles in the first half will be debated, but in the end the Manu were just too powerful for a committed but exhausted Russian side.
Twice the Manu got into scoring position in the early going but inaccuracy at the lineout threw away possession. At last they got a finish after 15 minutes as Alapati Leiua stepped and fended his way over in the right corner. Tusi Pisi’s kick was well off target to leave it at 5-0.
More mistakes cost Samoa immediately. Tim Nanai-Williams dropped the restart and then the defensive line shot up too fast to concede a kickable penalty. Yuri Kushnarev made no mistake to close the gap, and then nailed a second straight in front to take a one-point lead.
Samoa’s discipline only got worse. Reynold Lee-Lo and Motu Matu’u were dispatched within two minutes of each other for head-high challenges on Russian captain Vasili Artemyev. Both escaped with yellow cards that could easily have been red.
Poor tactics from Russia cost them any further points despite the two-man advantage. The Manu were equally disappointing, with handling errors and casual play in their own end nearly giving away free points. Pisi had a penalty attempt but again pushed the ball wide right.
Another incident arrived early in the second half. Samoa came out of the break determined to score and they got it through Afa Amosa, but his knee twisted awkwardly in the high challenge from Kirill Gotovstev. The Russian prop was sent to the bin and Amosa was stretchered off.
Reduced to 14 men, it was the Bears who somehow scored next as Kushnarev fired a snap drop goal over to make it a one-point game. That would turn into eight points within seconds as Ray Niuia popped an inside ball to a flying Ed Fidow, the winger scything clean through the line and in under the posts for a seven pointer.
Fidow had a double just a couple minutes later. Leiua came in off his wing and made good ground before his wing partner took the outside arc in for the try. Pisi landed the conversion this time and Samoa were suddenly 24-9 to the good.
The attrition of playing a second game on just three days rest was now taking its toll on the Russians. Simple hands put Reynold Lee-Lo in for the fifth try. The Bears came close through their forwards in the dying moments but were held out, and instead if was Leiua who powered over for his second try to bring up full-time.
Next up for Samoa is a clash against Scotland at Misaki Stadium in Kobe on Monday. Russia will enjoy a well-earned break before taking on Ireland at the same venue on Thursday, October 3.
Rugby World Cup Pool A
Match #9 – FULL TIME
RUSSIA 🇷🇺 0️⃣9️⃣- 3️⃣4️⃣ 🇼🇸 SAMOA
🇷🇺Russia – 0️⃣9️⃣
Penalties: Yuri Kushnarev (18′)(25′)
Drop Goal: Yuri Kushnarev (48′)
🇼🇸 Samoa – 3️⃣4️⃣
Tries: Alapati Leiua (15′)(79′), Afaesetiti Amosa (44′), Ed Fidow (48′)(52′), Reynold Lee-Lo (62′)
Conversions: Tusi Pisi (49′)(53′)
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RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED
RUS (on 64.81 points) -vs- SAM (on 69.08 points) in a RWC match
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|RUS win by 1-15 points||2.854||67.66||66.23||Yes|
|RUS win by more than 15||4.281||69.09||64.80||Yes|
|result is a draw||0.854||65.66||68.23||No|
|SAM win by 1-15 points||1.146||63.66||70.23||No|
|SAM win by more than 15||1.719||63.09||70.80||No|
15 Vasily Artemyev (c), 14 German Davydov, 13 Vladimir Ostroushko, 12 Dmitry Gerasimov, 11 Kirill Golosnitskiy, 10 Yury Kushnarev, 9 Vasily Dorofeev, 8 Nikita Vavilin, 7 Tagir Gadzhiev, 6 Vitaly Zhivatov, 5 Bogdan Fedotko, 4 Andrey Ostrikov, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Stanislav Selskii, 1 Valery Morozov
Replacements: 16 Evgeny Matveev, 17 Andrei Polivalov, 18 Azamat Bitiev, 19 Andrey Garbuzov, 20 Anton Sychev, 21 Dmitry Perov, 22 Ramil Gaisin, 23 Vladislav Sozonov
15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Alapati Leiua, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Ed Fidow, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Dwayne Polataivao, 8 Afaesetiti Amosa, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Chris Vui (c), 5 Kane Le’aupepe, 4 Teofilo Paulo, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Logovii Mulipola
Replacements: 16 Ray Niuia, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Jordan Lay, 19 Senio Toleafoa, 20 Josh Tyrell, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 AJ Alatimu, 23 Henry Taefu
Date: Tuesday, September 24
Venue: Rugby Stadium, Kumagaya
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistants: Jérôme Garcès (France) & Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)
Broadcasts: ESPN 3 (Latin/South America), NBC Sports Gold (USA), TSN 1/4 (Canada)