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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Sweet Samoa hit spot

By Jim Stokes
BBC Sport in Australia

Once again Samoa showed that if they are able to purchase possession, they can be as exciting as any side on the planet.

Okay, it was only against a brave but often limited Uruguay side that their running and handling skills came to the fore.

But give them an inch, and with their pace and power, they can be so devastating.

There was a cool breeze wafting across the Subiaco Stadium in Perth on Wednesday evening, but it was soon warmed up by Brian Lima and his fellow South Sea warriors.

Captain Semo Sititi leads Samoa in their pre-match ritual, the Manu Sivi Tau
Captain Semo Sititi set the tone
Although Samoa had a modicum of possession from the tight, they had enough from the loose to kill off Uruguay in a trice as they coasted home 60-13.

Unfortunately, they will not be afforded such luxuries as they received from the South Americans when they face England.

If you ain't got the ball, you can't play. Uruguay played keep-ball for periods, England can keep it forever. End of story.

When England finally face up to Samoa in Melbourne on 26 October, the order of Pool C will be already sorted out.

With a large support in the excellent 22,020 crowd behind, Samoa must have frightened the Uruguayans with their pre-match war dance as they stormed into a 29-5 half-time lead.

They ran the opposition ragged with five sweet tries in each half, two each from the powerhouse flanker Maurie Fa'asavula and Lima, who was celebrating his fourth World Cup.

Uruguay had their moments, and scored their first try of the tournament through their excellent number eight Rodrigo Capo.

But when Samoa scored their sixth try after only 45 seconds of the restart, that was that.

There was a side show when the very security-conscious stadium staff jumped on a pitch interloper. It took five of them to ground him and another nine to usher him out of the stadium.

In the meantime, Samoa struggled in the scrums and obviously missed Wasps hooker Trevor Leota, as the stronger Uruguayans twisted and turned the set-pieces. What would England do?

Samoa also found great difficulty in stopping a powerful driving maul. Again, Clive Woodward's steamrollers will be very difficult to stop.

England will win, but Manu Samoa and their colourful fans will entertain even in defeat.





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