x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

A piece of history for Samoa in shock win against Wallabies

Samoa produced a stunning victory in preparation for the Rugby World Cup, running in four tries to win a one-off Test against Australia.

Daniel Leo, second from left, celebrates Samoa's 32-23 win as Australian players watch.
Daniel Leo, second from left, celebrates Samoa's 32-23 win as Australian players watch.

SYDNEY //Samoa got their World Cup preparations off to a perfect start with a historic victory over Australia yesterday, stunning the Wallabies, ranked the second best side in the world, by running in four tries for a 32-23 win over the one-off Test match.

"Today for us was about getting some respect and hopefully we got some," Brian Maclean, Samoa's assistant coach, said. "We had quite a good tour of the northern hemisphere last year and this was the first game when we had all our players back.

"We played some tier-one nations and didn't lose by many points. We're just hoping to grow our game."

Alesana Tuilagi, Paul Williams, Kane Thompson, George Pisi all went over for Samoa, and though the Australians, who open their Tri Nations campaign against South Africa next weekend, scored a try in each half through the winger, Digby Ioane, and their fly-half Matt Giteau, they struggled after the visitors had raced to a 17-0 lead.

"It's amazing what adrenalin can do," the Samoa centre Seilala Mapusua said. "In the end, the guys were out on their feet. But that's the nature of our team that players are willing to die for the jersey."

The Pacific Islanders, who competed as Western Samoa until 1997, have reached the quarter-finals of three World Cups (1991, 1995 and 1999). They famously beat Wales 16-13 on home soil in the 1991 tournament and repeated the feat at the 1999 World Cup.

This was their first victory over Australia in five attempts. The Wallabies have just six days to recover before they take on what is sure to be another major physical challenge in the shape of the South Africans and is a set back for their preparations for the World Cup in New Zealand, which starts in September 9.

"We got beaten in terms of the physical exchanges," Robbie Deans, the Australia coach, said.

But Rocky Elsom, the captain, said that it was not a loss of the physical exchanges that had been most to blame for defeat.

"The thing that let us down was that we weren't effective enough in attack," said the flanker, who had played just his second match of the year.

"Sure, there were some good shots, and they deserved to win, but we weren't good enough at what we did in attack."