Samoa profit from pressure game against Fiji

(Rugby News Service) Sunday 25 September 2011
Samoa profit from pressure game against Fiji
Kahn Fotuali'i scores Samoa’s first try in their victory over Fiji at Eden Park

AUCKLAND, 25 Sept. - Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger credited his side's ability to turn pressure into points after seeing off Fiji 27-7 at Eden Park on Sunday.

Samoa were 20 points in front - 15 of them from the boot of fly half Tusi Pisi - before their opponents got on the scoreboard in the Pool D match.

Hooker Schwalger said: "This game is all about pressure. We kept on the pressure, we got some points and that's the main thing we got out of today."

Pisi kicked three penalties and a drop goal by half-time to swing the encounter Samoa's way and Schwalger said: "If you want to win this sort of Test match against a good side you have to make sure you get your points when you are down in their 22."

Fiji captain Deacon Manu said: "It was a credit to the Samoa defence, they really shut us down and made sure that in the first and second phase it was very hard for us to get some momentum and gain control of the ball."

After scoring all his side’s first-half points, Pisi continued to add to his tally five minutes into the second half with a penalty that put Samoa 15-0 up.

Sustained pressure

They then withstood sustained pressure on their own line, repelling two Fijian five-metre scrums.

Finally, in the 62nd minute, Samoa breached the Fiji line when number 8 George Stowers broke from a scrum and passed to Kahn Fotuali'i. The scrum half still had plenty to do before wriggling in at the corner.

Fiji hit back with a try from flanker Netani Edward Talei in the 67th minute, Waisea Sedre Luveniyali converting, but the Samoan response was immediate, with man of the match Paul Williams sending Stowers in at the corner.

Williams took over the kicking duties to nudge the score to 27-7.

Akapusi Qera had a chance to claw back a try for Fiji in the dying moments but was forced into touch, then Rupeni Nasiga lost control diving for the line.

Both sides tried to effect their trademark running game in a match that began under leaden skies, but too often the final pass failed to go to hand.

Amazing hold up

A period of sustained Samoa pressure from the kick-off ended with a penalty opportunity for Pisi, the fly half slotting the three points.

Sailosi Tagicakibau almost scored a try but was amazingly held up by Fiji's Naipolioni Nalaga. From the resulting scrum, Fiji conceded penalty to allow Pisi to extend the lead to 6-0.

Pisi then kicked only Samoa's second drop goal in Rugby World Cup history.

Samoa continued to lay siege to their opponents' line, with Nemia Kenatale just managing to touch down as the imposing figure of Alesana Tuilagi chased a kick through.

Fiji finally had a chance to get on the scoreboard on the half-hour mark but Seremaia Bai’s penalty attempt went wide.

RNS ig