Samoa player ratings: Ben Lam red card costs Pacific Islanders in defeat to Japan

Jared Wright
A cut out of Ben Lam's tackle which resulted in a red card and Samoa players Steven Luatua, Tumua Manu and Jordan Taufua

Screen shot of Ben Lam's tackle which resulted in a red card and Samoa players Steven Luatua, Tumua Manu and Jordan Taufua.

Following their 28-22 Rugby World Cup Pool D loss to Japan, here is how we rated the Manu Samoa players.

15 Duncan Paia’aua: There is a lot to criticise about Samoa’s performance, but the full-back, who doubled up as a centre, did little wrong. He was good under the high ball, a threat on the counter-attack and popped up in good positions on attack – which led to a try. 8

14 Ed Fidow: The veteran winger saw precious little ball in his 73 minutes on the pitch. He could have done much better on defence for both of Japan’s first two tries, and that turned out to be costly. 5

Midfield and Lam red

13 Tumua Manu: He slipped off a tackle for Japan’s opening try – which put Samoa on the backfoot – but went about making amends with strong ball carries and hefty hits on defence. He proved to be a real handful for Japan’s defence and snuffed out other threatening attacks. 7

12 D’Angelo Leuila: Took over the kicking duties from Christian Leali’ifano while on the pitch, and while he was close with the first and nailed the second, it was a rather uninspiring performance. Struggled for gain line success and missed half his tackle attempts before being forced off. 5

11 Ben Lam: A forgettable night for the winger who not only got a red card for a tackle that was always illegal, but he also dropped the ball deep in the Japan 22 from a scrum. 3

10 Christian Leali’ifano: Some questionable playmaking decisions in the early knockings of the match, but settled and had a reasonably solid game. He stepped up well at scrum-half when his side were down a man and also came up with a lovely 50:22 and scored a late try. 7

9 Jonathan Taumateine: A chaotic performance from the energic scrum-half. A full box of tricks, including flashes of madness, the latter seeing him spend 10 minutes in the sin bin. 5

Loose forwards

8 Jordan Taufua: A quiet performance by his high standards. Japan marked him well, nullifying his big ball carries. Sound defensively, as per usual. 5

7 Fritz Lee: Captained his country after Chris Vui’s withdrawal, the Clermont bruiser was as abrasive as ever in contact on both sides of the ball. 6

6 Taleni Seu: Forced off the pitch with an injury in the opening five minutes. N/A

McFarland stars and late changes

5 Theo McFarland: The man is a freak. His performance was stacked with incredible displays of skill, from claiming lineout steals with one hand to over-the-head catches to superb offloads – one leading to Paia’aua’s try – and bulking carries. 8

4 Steven Luatua: A late call to the starting XV after an injury to Vui. Busy around the park throughout but got little reward both at the breakdown and with ball in hand. Played a huge role in a crucial maul turnover late in the game. 6

3 Paul Alo-Emile: Strong scrummaging work and went about his work around the park with little fuss. 6

2 Seilala Lam: A pest over the ball and was accurate with his lineout darts and carried well and scored a try. 7

1 James Lay: The Samoa scrum was solid while he was on the pitch, and things changed when he departed. Made his tackles and got good purchase from his carries. 7

Replacements: The bench gave Samoa a chance to steal it at the end after a largely poor performance from the starters. Sama Malolo was brutally effective in open play, while Brian Alainu’uese impressed after an early introduction after initially missing the initial 23. Alamanda Motuga made a telling contribution, as did Danny Toala. 8

READ MORE: Japan edge 14-man Samoa to set up winner-takes-all showdown with Argentina