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Samoa win arm-wrestle - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Fri, 31 Oct 2008 22:53:00 GMT
Samoa soared to the top of Pool B in the World Cup care of a gruelling 20-12 win over equally aggressive arch-rivals Tonga at Penrith Football Stadium on Friday night.
Full of rugged defence, bone rattling hits and an unstoppable will to win, the Island derby lived up to the hopes and expectations of the 11,787 fans in attendance.
While fears of potential crowd violence turned out to be nothing more than melodramatic pre-game hype, the battle still had its heated moments.
Aussie referee Shayne Hayne placed two players on report - Samoan prop Kylie Leulua'i for a high tackle on Tongan fullback Fetuli Talanoa and later Tongan centre Etu Uaisele for a dangerous tackle on Samoan fullback Smith Samau.
Samoa – brimming with some terrific talent across several key positions – kept the game scoreless for a very brief moment, with winger Francis Meli snatching the first try in only the 3rd minute of play.
They then bolted out to 10-nil when Nigel Vagana grabbed an intercept pass and ran 90 metres for a four-pointer converted by Ben Roberts.
But Tonga scored some revenge of their own when Lagi Setu lost the ball in a tackle. In the ensuing set, Micheal Jennings then scored behind the posts.
Vagana then denied himself a double decker touchdown minutes later when he mishandled the ball right over the tryline.
That error came back to haunt him when Leo-Latu found a hole in the left-side defence of Samoa and scored, handing Tonga the lead for the first and only time in the game.
But just before the half-time siren could blare out into Penrith, winger Matt Utai managed avoid the challenge of Esikeli Tonga to put Samoa in front 14-12 at half-time.
The second-half was all one-way traffic virtually with Samoa dominating possession before extending their lead thanks to George Carmont who finished off some brilliant lead-up work by the forwards.
Tonga to their credit didn't let the opposition open up the point-scoring floodgates despite finding themselves defending their line off the back of several repeat sets,ensuring they can still remain competitive in Pool B on for and against.
Samoa should win this pool if they get the better of Ireland next Wednesday at Parramatta Stadium.
Tongan halfback Willie Manu managed to pick up a groin injury and it’s not known if he’ll lose any game time or not.
SAMOA 20 (G Carmont F Meli M Utai N Vagana tries B Roberts 2 goals) bt TONGA 12 (M Jennings T Leo-Latu tries T Williams 2 goals) at CUA Stadium. Referee: S Hayne. Crowd: 11,787. - Read More, Here