State of the Nation: Samoa

Date published: November 6 2015

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As we do at the end of a major tournament, we look at the state of affairs in each of the competing nations. Up next, Samoa.

Samoa arrived at the 2015 version of the Rugby World Cup promising plenty but delivering little in the end. 

Drawn in a Pool B alongside South Africa, Scotland, Japan and the USA, they were viewed by many enthusiasts as potential quarter-finalists.

After delivering a competitive performance in an historic Test against the All Blacks earlier in the year and finishing as runners-up to Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup, there was plenty of optimism in Samoa's camp at the start of their World Cup campaign.

They kicked off the tournament with a hard-fought 25-16 win against the USA with new full-back Tim Nanai-Williams crowning a superb overall performance by scoring his first Test try.

That result meant Samoa were brimming with confidence ahead of their next match against the Springboks, who suffered a shock defeat to Japan in their opener, but things went pear-shaped for the Pacific Islanders who suffered a humiliating 46-6 defeat against the two-time champions.

They were then comprehensively outplayed in a 26-5 loss to Japan before going down 36-33 to Scotland in a pulsating encounter which meant they finished off their campaign in fourth place in the group, outside of the automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

That last match against Scotland brought to the fore the best and worst of Samoan rugby. There were moments of attacking brilliance – they outscored their opponents four tries to three – interspersed with shocking discipline and how they avoided a sin binning is still a mystery.

Samoa are currently without a coach as Stephan Betham, who guided the team at the World Cup, resigned from his position shortly after the team was knocked out. 

What the future holds is anybody's guess as Samoa's rugby administration haven't always seen eye to eye with their players. 

The Samoan Rugby Union promised that an independent review will be undertaken to determine why they failed to deliver the goods at the World Cup.

The findings of such a review have yet to be publicised.

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