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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 06:34 GMT 07:34 UK
Samoa's element of surprise
One World Cup result which caused more uproar then perhaps any other in the competition's history, came in 1991.

Wales, who were fancied to go through to the last eight, faced Samoa (Western Samoa until 1997) - a team with a couple of world-class players, such as Pat Lam and Stephen Bachop, but still regarded as 'minnows'.

So to say the Cardiff Arms Park crowd was stunned when Samoa took the lead through To'o Vaega and Sila Vaifale, would be an understatement.

WORLD CUP RECORD
Samoa's Stephen Bachop runs in for a try against Wales
Played 12 - W:6 L:6
1987: Did not participate
1991: Quarter-finals
1995: Quarter-finals
1999: Quarter-final play-off
And despite a Welsh fightback which saw them respond with two touchdowns of their own, it was the boot of Mathew Vaea that made the difference and gave the Pacific Islanders a memorable 16-13 win.

If that result was a surprise, then a bigger shock was on the cards when Samoa faced Australia.

The underdogs' tough tactics were enough to stop a very good Australia team from scoring a try - a feat almost as great as when they defeated Wales.

The only drawback was the kicking prowess of Michael Lynagh, which saw him grab three penalties.

Vaea's single penalty goal was Samoa's sole reply, but nevertheless, the narrow 9-3 loss underlined what was a creditable performance.

With qualification from the pool still an option, Samoa had to beat Argentina in their final game.

And thanks to a brace of tries from Brian Lima and Timo Tagaloa along with scores by Frank Bunce and Stephen Bachop, the impressive 35-12 scoreline ensured their progression.

Reaching the quarter-finals was a huge achievement but Scotland made sure they did not venture any further.

Four years later Samoa repeated their exploits of 1991 by qualifying from their pool following wins over Argentina and Italy.

Again, the Pacific Islanders fell at the quarter-final stage, but it was no disgrace to lose to eventual champions South Africa.

At the 1999 World Cup, Samoa's last eight hopes were under threat.

After comprehensively beating Japan 43-9 in their opener, they found Argentina too tough.

Their final pool match was against Wales. Surely they could not beat the beat the Dragons again?

Yes, they could.

Poor defensive play by the Welsh allowed Bachop to go in for a brace with Lam, Lio Falaniko and Silao Leaega also bagging tries.

This was more of a thriller than the 1991 contest. The crucial try came in the dying minutes when Welsh fly-half Neil Jenkins kicked a conversion to make the scores 31-31.

But great work from Lima led to Leaega sprinting over for the crucial score.

However, Scotland stood in their way of a semi-final place and once again the Europeans had that little bit too much for Samoa.





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