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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 October, 2003, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Samoa stutter to win
Georgia 9-46 Samoa

Georgia 9
Pens: Jimsheladze (2)
Drop goal: Jimsheladze
Samoa 46
Tries: Tagicakibau, Va'a, So'oialo, Sititi, Feaunati, Lima
Cons: Va'a (5)
Pens: Va'a (2)

Samoa have moved to the top of Pool C with a comprehensive yet far from convincing victory over Georgia.

The Pacific Islanders ran in six tries in Perth, half of which came in the final quarter when Georgia were visibly losing some of their gas.

Sailosi Tagicakibau and Earl Va'a crossed for early scores that hinted at another exhilarating exhibition of running rugby to match their efforts against Uruguay.

But Samoa struggled to impose themselves and they only secured the bonus point when captain Semo Sititi touched down on the hour.

Further late tries from Dominic Feaunati and Brian Lima, in his record-equalling 14th consecutive World Cup match, added a gloss to the scoreline, but were not enough to conceal Samoan shortcomings.

With maximum points against Uruguay already in the bag, this win and bonus point was enough to leapfrog both England and South Africa and head the pool.

However the Samoans know that they will have to improve immeasurably if they are going to stay on top of the group and progress to the last eight.

Samoa's play was littered with handling errors and but for passes going astray and knock-ons, their victory would have been far more convincing.

As it was they went behind to the first points of the match from the boot of Georgian fly-half Paliko Jimsheladze.

Samoa soon moved ahead, Tagicakibau finishing off a flowing move by beating three Georgian defenders to score in the corner.

We're happy but not satisfied
Samoa captain Semo Sititi
Va'a, who missed only two kicks all night, also scored a sublime touchdown, ghosting through a gap past four flailing tacklers.

However, those tries were to prove a false dawn as Samoa soon found themselves mired in midfield floundering for a semblance of fluency.

The ball repeatedly went to ground and despite enjoying the lion's share of possession, the Samoans found it impossible to go in for the kill.

In almost 40 minutes of rugby, during a quarter of which Georgia were down to 14 men, Samoa managed just one try.

Orrell-bound scrum-half Steven So'oialo, brother of New Zealand number eight Rodney, darted over off the back of a rolling maul from close range before the break.

It took the intervention of captain Sititi to break the stupour.

The number eight broke from midfield brushing off tackles and raced into the corner, a tactic Feaunati copied with a barrelling run moments later.

Lima added the sixth try with 10 minutes to go to join David Campese with 10 World Cup tries, one adrift of England's Rory Underwood and five shy of Jonah Lomu.

But Samoa were unable to create any more chances and on this evidence will not stay top of the pool beyond next weekend when they meet England in Melbourne.

Samoa: T Vili; R Fanuatanu, T Fanolua, B Lima, S Tagicakibau; E Va'a, S So'oialo; K Lealamanu'a, J Meredith, J Tomuli; O Palepoi, L Lafaiali'i; P Poulous, M Fa'asavalu, S Sititi (capt).
Replacements: M Schwalger, S Lemalu, K Viliamu, S Vaili, D Tyrell, D Rasmussen, D Feaunati.

Georgia: B Khekhelashvili; M Urjukashvili, T Zibzibadze, I Giorgadze, V Katsadze; P Jimsheladz, I Abuseridze; S Nikolaenko, A Guiorgadze, G Shvelidze; I Nadiradze, Z Mtchedlishvili; I Zedguinidze, G Yachvili, G Labadze.
Replacements: D Dadunashvili, A Margvelashvili, V Didebulidze, D Bolgashvili, M Kvirikashvili, I Machkhaneli, B Khamashuridze.

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