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Last Updated: Monday, 6 October, 2003, 05:43 GMT 06:43 UK
World Cup golden moments
Western Samoa 16-10 Wales
World Cup pool match, 6 October 1991
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff

Samoa stun wretched Wales
by Ieuan Evans

It might sound churlish now, but it was a game we should have won.

We were under a bit of pressure beforehand and went into the match with a few injuries - I was carrying one myself.

Samoan fly-half Stephen Bachop makes a pass against Wales in 1991
Stephen Bachop was the Samoans' chief orchestrator

But we had enough ball to have won, even allowing for Samoa getting a very dubious try when their guy didn't appear to ground the ball.

As usual, we had sacked another coach just before a World Cup - we never learn the lesson - and I had been handed the captaincy just beforehand.

All credit to them - they played out of their skins, but we played badly.

We were devastated afterwards, and there were some pretty distraught fans there as well.

The fact we had lost to Western Samoa brought a lot of things home to roost - to the players, to the WRU, to the fans.

It showed how far we had deteriorated and let things slip, even if it took us another 10 years to do something about it.

That was probably the worst I ever felt as a Wales player
Samoa were a very good team with some quality players like Pat Lam and Frank Bunce.

We had become far too parochial and insular and this was the result.

We probably got what we deserved after years of going through umpteen coaches and having a revolving-door policy with players.

We really hadn't got to grips with the modern game and how it was evolving. Alan Davies asked for many things to be changed which were turned down and he lost his post four years later, just before the next World Cup.

A lot of people were stunned at the result but not as stunned as us players. We were crestfallen.

When you represent Wales you carry the responsibility of previous generations and their image.

It is a huge responsibility but a burden you bear gladly. We felt we had let a lot of people down, including ourselves.

We were at home, it was the first game of the group stages and we had done so much hard work.

After that we had to go and beat Argentina four days later and then try to beat Australia, which proved beyond us.

Wales 13:
Tries: Jones, Evans
Con: Ring
Pen: Ring
Western Samoa 16:
Tries: Vaega, Vaifale
Con: Vaea
Pens: Vaea 2

The aspirations are always high in Wales, regardless of the quality of the opposition, but you want the input of the supporters.

The worst thing that can possibly happen is apathy, which we can ill afford.

I would rather a negative reaction because at least that shows people still care.

There was uproar after the game. It was very negative, and with good reason.

Not many people expected Wales to win the World Cup, but they didn't expect us to get knocked out at the pool stages.

It wasn't what we wanted, or what we expected, but it was possibly a true measure of where we were at that time.

The previous year we had endured a pretty devastating tour of Australia and I never wanted to go through that again.

But that day was probably the worst I ever felt as a Wales player. As captain, leading my country, I felt the responsibility greater than most.

It was awful, horrible, something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

Interview by Bryn Palmer

Links to more History stories


Players remember

1991: Australian glory

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