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Wales captain Mark Taylor
"It's a brilliant feeling to lead the side to a win like that"
 real 14k

Wales wing Shane Williams
"We started to gel in the second half"
 real 14k

Wales full back Rhys Williams
"It was a very physical game"
 real 14k

Gareth Charles, Brian Price and Mike Hall
Immediate post-match analysis
 real 14k

JJ Williams
"(Arwel Thomas) played a complete game... he was the man-of-the-match"
 real 14k

BBC Wales' Gareth Charles
Match report
 real 14k

Saturday, 11 November, 2000, 18:22 GMT
Wales dazzle Samoans
Shane Williams
Shane Williams crosses for his first try
Wales 50-6 Samoa

Wales turned in a sparkling second-half performance to subdue the big-hitting Samoans at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

It was Wales' first win over Samoa since 1988 and was revenge for the humiliating defeats in the 1991 and 1999 World Cups.

"We had to win - and win well," said coach Graham Henry. "There was pressure on us to score points against an experienced Samoan side, and I thought we played some good stuff in the second half.

"Having said that, I thought that we were a bit rusty. It was our first international of the season and hopefully we can move further up the ladder next week when we play the USA."

The Samoans had rocked Wales with a typically robust opening 20 minutes in which they made a couple of searing breaks and put in the trademark huge tackles.

But Wales came alive on 22 minutes when the impressive Colin Charvis made a ball-juggling break into the Samoan 22.

Ten minutes later new Wales skipper Mark Taylor scored the game's opening try and it was more a case of how many Wales would score rather than if they would win.

Arwel Thomas
Arwel Thomas: Successful comeback

Fly-half Arwel Thomas capped his international comeback with a personal haul of 20 points and looked composed behind the slick service of Rob Howley.

The Swansea midfield trio of Thomas, Taylor and Scott Gibbs came into their own after the break, with Gibbs appearing fresher than at any time since the last Lions tour in 1997.

Opening exchanges

Thomas had kicked Wales into a 9-3 lead after exchanging penalties with Samoan full-back Happy Valley Patu, in nervous opening exchanges.

But Wales began to assert themselves on a weakened Samoan side after Thomas' third penalty - Colin Charvis making two telling breaks and Shane Williams dropped the ball while stretching for the line.


We started to gel in the second half
  Two-try wing Shane Williams
Taylor's try came after Wales had recycled possession four times on the Samoan line and the Swansea centre burst through a stretched defence from five yards out.

Wales may have dominated the closing stages of the opening period, but poor line out play will be a concern to coach Graham Henry with the Springboks looming.

Too often Garin Jenkins missed his man or the jumpers mis-timed their leaps.

But the second half - a few more line out blips and Quentin Sanft's opening penalty aside - was a far more polished affair.

Wales brought pacey Cardiff full-back Rhys Williams into the line on several occasions two of which resulted in two tries for namesake Neath wing Shane.

The first opened Wales' second-half account and the second was a virtuoso performance from the Neath man.

He jinked past three men off a flat pass from Scott Quinnell and then beat another behind the line to touch down under the posts.

In between Williams' brace, lock Ian Gough had scored a try typical of Wales' approach to the game.

Mark Taylor
Mark Taylor: Try in first game as captain

The ball was recycled repeatedly on the Samoan line before Gough stepped back inside a stretched defence to crash over.

He had already made an impression with Samoan-style tackles of his own.

Wales also bagged a penalty try after a desperate Toala had illegally prevented Alan Bateman from grounding a Mark Taylor grubber kick on 68 minutes.

Wales battered the Samoan line in the final ten minutes in search of the elusive 50 points and had a seemingly good Dafydd James effort disallowed for a forward pass.

But Bateman got his belated reward after squeezing in at the corner off a brilliant midfield loop from replacement Nathan Budgett.


It was a very physical game
  Wales full back Rhys Williams
By that stage, Graham Henry had indulged himself the luxury of using all seven replacements, but will probably have words with Swansea's James Griffiths.

The second row had been on the field less than a minute before he was sin-binned for a shoulder charge off the ball.

Reaction

After the game the Wales players were united in acknowledging that it had taken the team some time to settle into the first international of the season.

"We started to gel in the second half," said two-try wing Shane Williams.


It was a brilliant feeling to lead the side to a win like that
  Wales captain Mark Taylor
He was delighted that Graham Henry put faith in him after his injury and said he was continuing to enjoy his experiences of playing, and scoring, in the Millennium Stadium.

It was full back Rhys Williams' first game in the new arena and he felt equally at home:

"It's exciting times and I'm enjoying it," he said.

He acknowledged the challenge of the Samoans: "It was a very physical game."

The final word was left to new captain Mark Taylor:

"It was a brilliant feeling to lead the side to a win like that," he said.

Send in your post-match reaction

See the player ratings for the weekend games


Scorers - Wales: Tries: M Taylor, S Williams 2, I Gough, A Bateman, penalty try. Cons: A Thomas 4. Pens: A Thomas 4

Samoa: Pens: Patu, Sanft

Teams - Wales: R Williams (Cardiff), A Bateman (Northampton), M Taylor (Swansea, capt), S Gibbs (Swansea) S Williams (Neath), A Thomas (Swansea), R Howley (Cardiff), I Thomas (Ebbw Vale), G Jenkins (Swansea), B Evans (Swansea), I Gough (Newport), D Jones (Ebbw Vale), G Lewis (Swansea), S Quinnell (Llanelli), C Charvis (Swansea)
Replacements: D James (Llanelli), N Jenkins (Cardiff), R Moon (Llanelli), N Budgett (Ebbw Vale), J Griffiths (Swansea), S John (Cardiff), A Lewis (Cardiff)

Samoa: H Patu, T Faasua, F Soolefai, F Tuilagi, F Toala, Q Sanft, S So'oialo, T Veiru, O Matauiai (capt), P Asi, O Palepoi, S Poaching, A Vaeluaga, L Mealamu, J Maligi
Replacements: D Tafeamaalii, M Schwalger, S Tone, J Mamea, I Evalu, A Toleafoa, P Misa

Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)

Att: 60,000

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See also:

07 Nov 00 |  Rugby Union
Inga under fire
06 Nov 00 |  Wales
Henry hails star Thomas
06 Nov 00 |  Wales
Thomas gets nod over Jenkins
10 Nov 00 |  World Cup 2000
Wales' world in union blasted
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