Samoa got their Rugby World Cup campaign underway in emphatic fashion, after demolishing Namibia 49-12 on Wednesday.
Samoa got their Rugby World Cup campaign underway in emphatic fashion, after demolishing Namibia 49-12 at Rotorua International Stadium on Wednesday.
Samoa speedster Alesani Tuilagi bagged a hat-trick to help his team along to a comprehensive six-tries-to-two Pool D win.
The islanders simply had too much pace and power for the African minnows, with Wales, Fiji and the Springboks having been interested spectators of the performance.
The writing was on the wall for Namibia just 49 seconds into the match when scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i went over for the opening try, converted by pivot Tusi Pisi.
Samoa hit double figures with a Pisi penalty, and it was 10-0 after ten minutes played.
Six minutes later, powerful wing Alesani Tuilagi used his pace to speed over for Samoa's second converted try after the islanders did the basics well with ball in hand. The Tigers star still had some work to do out wide, but made it look easy.
Pisi followed up his conversion with another penalty and Samoa were smiling 20-0 up.
With half-time approaching, Tuilagi was over for his second and Samoa's third five-pointer thanks to a quick-tap from flank Maurie Faasavalu and quick hands by the Samoan back-line. Tuilagi was once again left to work hard, but bounced off three would-be tacklers to score in the corner.
With Pisi off injured, full-back Paul Williams was unable to add the extras but Samoa were firmly in control heading into the break at 25-0 ahead.
Samoa ran into their first road block of the match when Williams was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle in the 39th minute of the match, but Namibia failed to make their advantage against 14 men count in the second half.
Williams returned to the fray and made up for his misdemeanor by slotting over a penalty for his team after Tuilagi was denied his hat-trick moments earlier with the ref ruling a forward pass.
However, Tuilagi wouldn't be denied the next time he got his hands on the ball just two minutes from the restart and raced in for Samoa's bonus point. Williams converted to give the men in blue a 35-0 lead against the struggling Namibians.
Another superb break-out from Faasavalu ended in Samoa's fifth try of the afternoon – this time Williams exposing some sloppy defence from Namibia for a converted touchdown (42-0).
Namibia finally woke up from their slumber and replied in style. A catch off his own chip kick ahead by winger Llewellyn Winkler set up centre Danie van Wyk, before Namibia's second try saw fly-half Theuns Kotze stretch out under the posts.
But in between, Namibia flanker Rohan Kitshoff – a late replacement for Jacques Nieuwenhuis – was yellow-carded for repeated infringement, and Namibia's short-handed scrum gave up a penalty try to Samoa.
Man of the match: Blockbusting wing Alesana Tuilagi signalled his star power with Samoa's first World Cup hat-trick, but it was exciting flank Maurie Faasavalu who really caught the eye without having to score a try. He was just everywhere!
Moment of the match: Fotuali'i's opening try with barely a minute up on the clock set the mood for the match.
Villains of the match: There haven't been many so far at this year's showpiece. But naughty, naughty Paul Williams and Rohan Kitshoff – a yellow card each.
Tries: Fotuali'i, Tuilagi 3, Williams, Penalty try
Cons: Pisi 2, Williams 3
Pens: Pisi 2, Williams
Tries: Van Wyk, Kotze
Samoa: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 George Pisi, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Alesani Tuilagi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 George Stowers, 7 Maurie Faasavalu, 6 Taiasina Tuifua, 5 Kane Thompson, 4 Daniel Leo, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Mahonri Schwalger (c), 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Census Johnston, 18 Joe Tekori, 19 Ofisa Treviranus, 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono, 22 Tasesa Lavea.
Namibia: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Danie van Wyk, 12 Piet van Zyl, 11 Llewellyn Winkler, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Pieter Jan van Lill, 7 Jacques Burger (c), 6 Rohan Kitshoff; 5 Henk Franken, 4 Heinz Koll, 3 Raoul Larson, 2 Hugo Horn, 1 Johnnie Redelinghuys.
Replacements: 16 Bertus O'Callaghan, 17 Jane du Toit, 18 Nico Esterhuyse, 19 Reaud van Neel, 20 Ryan de la Harpe, 21 Darryl de la Harpe, 22 TC Losper.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)