Samoa start their Rugby World Cup 2023 journey with a five-try Pool D victory over Chile at Stade de Bordeaux on Saturday.
Samoa opened their Rugby World Cup campaign with a 43-10 win over Chile in Pool D at the Stade de Bordeaux.
Despite outside-centre Ulupano Junior Seuteni receiving a yellow card and Chile prop Matias Dittus scoring a try, Samoa led 19-10 at half-time thanks to four penalties by former Australia fly-half Christian Leali’ifano and a try through full-back Duncan Paia’aua.
Samoa scored three second-half tries, two coming from the driving maul and another through scrum-half Jonathan Taumateine. Yellow cards were also exchanged, with Chile replacement second-row Alfonso Escobar and replacement prop Esteban Inostroza and Samoa replacement scrum-half Ereatara Enari all sent to the sin-bin. Replacement prop Sama Malolo scored his second try of the game just before the final whistle.
“I thought the first half we were a bit sloppy but in the second half the boys really showed up and we’re happy to come away with a win,” said Mastercard Player of the Match Theo McFarland. “It’s always an honour to pull on the jersey for Samoa.”
Chile captain Martin Sigren said of the support in Bordeaux: “I feel so alive being in the middle of all this, with this amazing Chilean crowd cheering you. I’ve got my family here as well so it’s so special.
“It was a really tough game. In the first half we had our hopes up. I thought we really had it. We really wanted the win. We had the hope that we could take it. They kept it going in the second half and it was tough to keep up with their pace.”
Samoa captain Michael Alaalatoa said: “The first half was everything we expected it to be, we knew Chile were going to come out firing. After the game last week, we saw how physical their forwards are, they lived up to that in the first half.
“You can see by the support here, it feels like all of Chile flew over, which is great, it’s what you want.
“They probably caught us a bit off-guard at first but it was great to get that try before half-time and get the momentum back our way.”
Chile head coach Pablo Lemoine said: “We expected a great game. We missed too many things but definitely Chilean rugby has changed. That’s something good.”
Samoa head coach Seilala Mapusua said: “Great to get our campaign under way. A lot to take from that game and we’ll be reviewing it. Full credit to Chile, they really took it to us today and put us under pressure and that’s exactly what we needed.”
When asked what inspired his team’s second-half performance, Mapusua added: “Probably a few words [at half-time] I can’t say on live TV, just about trusting our structures and our processes and finishing off our combinations, so it was good to see the boys come out and do that.”
SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS