Samoa sink woeful Welsh
17 Nov 2012
Samoa beat Wales 26-19 in Cardiff to make another statement that their 2011 World Cup display was no one-off.
Samoa, with the core of the squad based in Europe, have shown continuity in selection and are finally getting the results.
Samoa and Ospreys scrum-half Kahn Fotuali’i was named man of the match as he constantly threatened the home team defence. Fotuali’i excelled for the Crusaders a few seasons ago and has added greater balance to his game since being based in Wales. The win will be particularly special for him given where he now plays his club rugby.
Wales fielded a very different side to the one beaten 26-12 by Argentina a week ago but if the past two weeks were a test of the squad depth it has shown vulnerability and shortcomings.
Warren Gatland’s influence has also been shown up in his absence. Gatland will take charge of the side for the next two weekends when Wales will field their strongest line-up.
The back to back defeats have asked more questions of the Welsh who disappointed in losing the Test series 3-0 to Australia. The World Cup heroics had many believing Wales could dominate European rugby for the next few seasons and seriously threaten the likes of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
But the consistency is not yet there and while individuals showed class, like fullback Leigh Halfpenny, the Welsh as a unit were poor.
The referee Joel Jutge was also shocking but he was not the reason Wales were beaten.
Samoa deserve all credit for a victory that will continue the belief that they can be a top eight team capable of beating a top five team.
Wales edged Samoa when the teams last met at the World Cup in New Zealand, but only five of the Welsh World Cup XV started in Cardiff and Samoa took just 64 seconds to score.
Halfpenny’s boot kept Wales in the game and ensured a 13-10 halftime lead, but the last 20 minutes belonged to the visitors, even though they only sealed victory with two minutes remaining.