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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 11 May 2021


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We’re back with another late, late installment of rugby magic from a windswept stadium in New Zealand. If you’re got an observation, comment or sleep deprivation hallucination you’d like to share, e-mail, tweet us @thescore_iefind us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.

LIVE: Namibia 12 – 49 Samoa

A guy in a loin cloth is blowing a tribal horn in the direction of the players’ dressing room and it can only mean one thing: rugby is afoot!

Samoa– Williams, Tagicakibau, Pisi, Mapusua, Tuilagi, Pisi, Fotuali’i; Taulafo, Schwalger, Perenise, Leo, Thompson, Tuifua, Faasavalu, Stowers.

Namibia– Bottha, Dames, Van Wyk, Van Zyl, Winkler, Kotze, Jantjies; Redelinghuys, Horn, Larson, Koll, Franken, Kitshoff, Burger, Van Lill.

Samoa have just performed the Siva tau, their pre-game war dance, and, boy, was it impressive! Incredibly well choreographed; it literally drew screams of delight from the crowd. Backstreet Boys would have been proud.

Namibia’s clever fly-half, Kotze gets us underway with a kick to the left half of the field.

What in the blazes? Somoa are in for their first try!

Fotuali’i, a couple of steps inside the left touchline, just gathered a defensive kick into his arms and… kept running… three or four Namibians just bounced off him. Pisi makes the conversion.

Namibia 0 – 7 Samoa

Samoa could literally not have hoped for a better commencement of their World Cup campaign. With the pre-tournament analysis placing them in uncertain middle-ground between ‘big team’ and ‘minnow’ status, the Pacific Islanders have made clear their claim to the former.

They’re Samoan pack has driven its way over the line, but Romain Poite thinks the ball’s been held up. Namibia clear their lines from the resulting scrum and the danger recedes, for a moment at least.

Horn is penalised for going off his feet and Samoa have a penalty right in front of the posts.

Pisi strokes it over.

Namibia 0 -10 Samoa

Namibia use a lineout as platform from which to launch their first foray into the Samoan half. Breaking through scrum-half Jantjies– who, believe it or not, plays his club rugby in Romania– the Africans drive to within a couple of yards of the line, only to lose the ball forward… ach!

Namibia are using their possession cleverly, keeping their passes short and controlled. Unambitious though it is, it’s allowing their flankers, Van Lill and Burger to make inroads.

But as I say that… quick ball from a lineout turnover finds Alesana Tuilagi in acres of space on the left wing and Samoa are over their second try! Pisi makes it another maximum return.

Namibia 0 – 17 Samoa

A lovely kick to the left corner from Pisi leaves Namibia with a defensive lineout a few metres from their line. It’s a Samoan hand that reaches the ball first, and patting it down to Fotuali’i, sets in progress a string of quick passes along the back line.

An all-or-nothing Namibian interception puts an end to the move.

Samoan dominance at the scrum leaves Pisi with a relatively easy penalty attempt from about 30 metres out…

… and it’s over!

Namibia 0 – 20 Samoa

Though they’ve looked a little vulnerable in defence, Samoa have looked absolutely deadly with ball in hand. Not only that, but they’re asserting their superiority at both set pieces.

An impressive line-break from (Tusi) Pisi leaves Samoa a couple of metres short of the Namibian line. Burger’s off-side at the breakdown, doing his bit to spare the Africans another unanswered try, and Samoa have a routine penalty that they kick to they corner.

Amazingly, the Samoan pick-and-drive is halted nearly immediately.

Uh oh, that line-break appears to have done Pisi a mischief, and the fly-half– who’s been dynamite so far– is helped from the pitch. Tuifua’s off, too. They’re dropping like flies out here!

A mammoth kick from Kotze clears the Namibian line and, though the ball doesn’t quite make it into touch of its own accord, it’s fumbled the rest of the way there by Sailosi “Butterfingers” Tagicakibau.

Pisi’s replacement, Lavea, has lovely hair.

Tuifua’s place on the field has been taken by the improbably-named Treviranus. If it wasn’t 4am and I didn’t have more important things to be doing, that’s a name I could get some mileage out of.

Samoa have another try, and it’s a corker!

After absoutely destroying the Namibian scrum in midfield, Samoa take a quick restart through Faasavalu and spin the ball out to Tuilagi on the left wing. Some imperious handling ensures that, by the time the ball reaches the winger, he’s only got three comparatively tiny backs blocking his path. Like sailboats sucked into the path of an enormous, coasting supertanker, he leaves them capsized and spinning confusedly.

The conversion attempt is rubbish, but it’s:

Namibia 0 – 25 Samoa

Fight! Fight! Fight! Kotze, the quick-witted fulcrum of the Namibian attack, dummies a pass to his right, drags the ball back to his chest, and breaks at speed through the Samoan defence… before being absolutely flattened by a tackle from Williams. The fullback, who was deemed to have made insufficient effort to bring the fly-half to ground, is sent to the bin.

Ouch! That drew an audible gasp from the crowd.

It’s been a highly dominant, if not flawless performance from the Pacific islanders. Their ability to control the outcome at both scrum and lineout has proved the foundation for some strong, incisive running. Tuilagi, in particular, has looked devastating.

Half-time: Namibia 0 – 25 Samoa

We’re back underway!

Samoa immediately pick up where they left off, driving from the base of a lineout, but concede a scrum to the Africans.

Kotze reminds ITV analyst Alan Quinlan of Butch James. After that first half hit, the halfback may well think he’s Butch James… or Batman.

A textbook move from Samoa, with some strong, evergy-sapping ball-carrying, is ruined by an inexplicable pass into touch. It’s a neat summation of the Samoan game: for all its elegance, there’s a always a potentially catastrophic lapse lurking just around the corner.

Samoa are over the line again, but the try’s disallowed!

A shockingly poor scrum from Namibia- Jantjies’s put-in was allowed to roll straight through!– sets Faasavalu on his way. The ball makes its way to the human steamroller that is Alesana Tuilagi and the wing coasts over in the left corner. The last pass, however, was forward.

Penalty! A series of Samoan scrums lead nowhere and, in receipt of a penalty, the islanders opt for the easiest imaginable conversion. It’s Williams who pops the ball over from all of ten metres out.

Namibia 0 – 28 Samoa

Another try! A series of Samoan breaks in midfield leave the Namibian defence in disarray. The ball finds Tuilagi with a few yards to play with on the left wing and, after laboriously building his momentum, he blazes over to complete the hat-trick.

Formula: Tuilagi + Space = Try.

Namibia 0 – 35 Samoa

They’re in again! The pace and venom with which Samoa are carrying the ball into contact is really beginning to take its toll on Namibia. Some marvellous work from Lavea, Faasavalu and Tuilagi creates a platform from which Williams can make a burst under the posts.

The conversion’s over, and it’s:

Namibia 0 – 42 Samoa


Samoa: Paulo and Johnston are on to bolster the Samoan front row, Poluleuligaga is on at scrum-half (pay attention, because I won’t be typing that again) and Fuirnaono is on at inside centre.

Namibia are on the board! A great offload from Llewellyn Winkler, whose offload effectively took two Samoan defenders out of the game, leaves Danie Van Wyk with a clear run to the corner.

Kotze’s conversion attempt isn’t a good one, but fret not, Namibians, your team are up and running.

Namibia 5 – 42 Samoa

That try is no more than the Africans deserve. Their pack has had a tough time of it today, really struggling to assert itself with any sort of consistency, but their back line has looked lively throughout the game. It’s just a shame they’ve been performing in a vacuum of sorts.

Penalty try! Samoa have decided to flex their scrummaging muscles and, in a series of set pieces, drive for the line from twenty metres out. Namibia’s last-gasp attempt to halt their progress is as illegal as it is successful. Romain Poite is left with no choice and jogs under the posts. The conversion’s safely over.

Namibia 5 – 49 Samoa

A superb, Etch-a-Sketch break from van Wyk in midfield hauls Namibia within metres of the Samoan line. They’re going through the phases, but a slack pass from Kotze leaves Winkler diving backwards to rescue possession. He can’t and the ball trickles harmlessly into touch.

Kotze’s over! But Romain Poite wants to go upstairs:

“Is there a reason I cannot award a try?”

Apparently not. And the fly-half, whose jinking run caps another classy performance, flips the conversion over the posts.

Namibia 12 – 49 Samoa

It’s all over! Namibia have conceded 49 points in both of their opening matches, but their lack of pace in defence has tended to exaggerate the inadequacy of their performances. In Jantjies and Kotze they have a dynamic halfback pairing, more than capable of befuddling top-class defences (not that they’ve faced one yet, mind).

It was impressive tournament debut from Samoa, however, and the islander’s will likely fancy their chances against Wales. Tuilagi, in particular, could well do some damage.

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