Sorry, I’ve been a little depressed for the last few days. Hopefully the next two games will do something to cleanse the palatte… The teams:
Ireland: 1. Michael Platt, 2. Damien Blanch, 3. Sean Gleeson, 4. Stuart Littler, 5. Pat Richards, 6. Scott Grix (c), 7. Liam Finn, 8. Eamon O’Carroll, 9. Bob Beswick, 10. Gareth Haggerty, 11. Ben Harrison, 12. Lee Doran, 13. Simon Finnigan. Subs: 14. Michael McIlorum, 15. Karl Fitzpatrick, 16. Wayne Kerr, 17. Ryan Tandy.
Samoa: 1. Smith Samau, 2. Matt Utai, 3. George Carmont, 4. Willie Talau, 5. Francis Meli, 6. Nigel Vagana, 7. Ben Roberts, 8. Wayne McDade, 9. Terence Seuseu, 10. Tony Puletua, 11. Lagi Setu, 12. Dave Solomona, 13. Harrison Hansen. Subs: 14. Frank Puletua, 15. Ali Lauitiiti, 16. Misi Taulapapa, 17. Joseph Paulo.
I really should have checked the odds on Kerr scoring…
SAMOA 12 – 22 IRELAND
0 mins: From the kick-off it’s clear that Ireland want to slow things down, because they get penalised for holding down
1 mins: Ireland get a let-off there. Roberts puts in a grubber into the in-goal, and first of all Pat Richards apears to have covered it, but then Willie Talau puts in a bit hit and dislodges the ball. Nigel Vagana just can’t quite control the ball trying to touch it down, and the video ref decides it’s a 20m restart.
2 mins: Scott Grix kicks it dead from inside his own half. Ireland, it seems, want to do this the hard way.
5 mins: Another penalty by Ireland, another restarted Samoan set. Tony Puletua does the business from a few metres out, but it gets wiped off because the video referee decides that Harrison Hansen has obstructed the Irish defensive line. Ireland get a relieving penalty and finally get out of their own half.
8 mins: Just as Ireland appeared to be getting back into the game, they give away a penalty for interference.
9 mins: Samoa drop the ball next to the Irish line, and then turning hte whole thing on their head they give away a penalty for holding down
10 mins: TRY Pat Richards
Heh, whadda ya know? After being pounded for roughly ten straight minutes, Ireland get one opportunity in the Samoan half, and Liam Finn puts in a lovely chip for Pat Richards to outjump Matt Utai. I think he misses the conversion, but’s it’s hard to tell since the sunlight completely blocks the view of the kick
SAM 0 – 4 IRE
13 mins: TRY Simon Finnegan
What has just happened? Bob Beswick is freed just inside his own half, and a simple two-on-one allows Finnegan to have a free run to the line. Remarkably, Richards misses the relatively easy kick as it hits the post and bounces back out.
SAM 0 – 8 IRE
17 mins: And now Ireland get a penalty when Seu Seu puts in a high-shot on Damien Blanch.
18 mins: TRY Sean Gleeson CONVERSION Richards
The Wolfhounds are being ruthlessly efficient here! Their third foray into the Samoa half sees a kick by Scott Grix to the right-hand corner. Nigel Vagana messes up the catch, and Gleeson touches down the loose ball. Richards also lands his first kick, and as it stands Ireland are going to win this group
SAM 0 – 14 IRE
23 mins: TRY Nigel Vagana CONVERSION Ben Roberts
Doh! Ben Roberts puts up a massive bomb and (you might recognize this if you read my coverage of the Ireland – Tonga game) Michael Platt messes it up. Vagana touches down the ball as Pat Richards also fails to send it dead as he gets beaten by the bounce. Roberts adds the easy kick.
SAM 6 – 14 IRE
27 mins: Vagana puts a cross-field bomb on for Francis Meli, but Damien Blanch is waiting for him as he lands, and Meli’s offload is knocked on by Lagi Setu.
31 mins: Ireland have weathered some more pressure on their line and forced the ball from Meli and recovered it via Gleeson. Samoa have put on most of the pressure but Ireland have dealt with it really well.
34 mins:TRY Misi Taulapapa CONVERSION Roberts
Ireland concede an interference penalty in midfield, and it allows Samoa to make all their pressure finally tell as Misi Taulapapa barges over from a metre out. Roberts adds the kick, and even though Samoa are behind on the scoreboard they are currently on course to win the group.
SAM 12 – 14 IRE
36 mins: David Solomona gets a beautiful offload away to George Carmont… who quickly passes into touch. Oops! Carmont knew he had made a mistake as soon as he released the ball.
38 mins: PENALTY Richards
Samoa give away an interference penalty as Ben Harrison loses the ball in a three man tackle. Richards adds the two easy points.
SAM 12 – 16 IRE
39 mins: Samoa close out the half as Solomona charges down the left channel into solid Irish defence.
HALF TIME: Samoa 12 – 16 Ireland
Well, that was a bizarre half. Both teams took it in turns to completely dominate the other, but towards the end of the half it looked like they were finding a happy medium. The momentum appears to be heading back to Samoa who look grateful for the six point headstart the group results so far have given them. Ireland are far from out of this, though.
40 mins: Aaaaand we’re back, as Ireland begin with a fairly conservative set.
41 mins: Yet they follow it up by stealing the ball from Tony Puletua and getting all offload-happy…
42 mins: TRY Richards
Something that works out for them as Fitzpatrick puts out a long miss pass to Richards straight off the back of an offload. Richards cuts back in, and it’s advantage back to Ireland. Unfortunately, he can’t follow it up with a conversion.
SAM 12 – 20 IRE
46 mins: A nice grubber is put into the in-goal by Samoa, but by the time Ali Lauitiiti grounds the ball he’s beyond the dead-ball line.
48 mins: A nice Roberts chip leaves Platt stranded in-goal, and Samoa get a drop-out. Remarkably, it’s the first of the game.
50 mins: Samoa nearly get a nice piece of luck as Roberts’ grubber ends up back in his hands as he dives for the line, but he gets held up short.
52 mins: PENALTY Richards.
Grix recovers a Samoa knock-on, and Lauitiiti knocks it out of his hands illegally. Ireland, grateful for any points they can get, let Richards kick the penalty
SAM 12 – 22 IRE
53 mins: Samoa force the knock-on from the kick off, and Talau comes so close, only to be held up just as he dives for the line.
55 mins: Vagana drops the ball close to the Ireland line, as he falls very awkwardly in the tackle. He doesn’t look like he’ll continue in this game.
56 mins: Blanch, Gleeson and Lee Doran bundle George Carmont into touch, but it’s called held about five seconds beforehand and so Samoa get a penalty.
57 mins: Ooooooooooooooh. Samoa put up a bomb, and from the ensuing melee Blanch takes the ball and runs clear 90m to the try-line. However, the video ref sees that Blanch knocked the ball on from the original bomb, and it’s pulled back.
58 mins: From the scrum, Talau runs across the width of the pitch and tries to trick Richards into coming infield, and in the process throws the ball into touch.
63 mins: PENALTY Richards
Ireland are building up concerted pressure on Samoa now, as a drop-out is followed up with a penalty as David Solomona appears to raise an elbow to Sean Gleeson’s head. Richards adds the two points, and it’s advantage Ireland right now.
SAM 12 – 24 IRE
68 mins: PENALTY Richards
Huh. Pat Richard puts up a bomb straight into the air and it comes straight back down to Lian Finn. It looks like it’s a handover, but the ref gives a penalty to Ireland because Puletua took out Richards late. Richards recovers enough to add the kick.
SAM 12 – 26 IRE
69 mins: Ireland nearly mess up clearing the ball out of the in-goal, but it’s pulled back for a knock-on
71 mins: TRY Liam Finn
Oh my. Taulapapa makes a complete hash of an Ireland kick, and Finn touches the ball down over the line. It looks like Ireland are going through. Richards again misses the easy kick after making the diffiicult ones.
SAM 12 – 30 IRE
73 mins: Ireland throw a forward pass, so the ball is kicked wide and Pat Richards is claimed to have knocked the ball dead.
74 mins: TRY David Solomona
SAM 16 – 30 IRE
Solomona barges his way over out wide. Roberts can’t add the extras, and Samoa still need two tries
75 mins: Richards manages to make the kick-off bounce out of the in-goal for a drop-out. That might just kill off Samoa’s hopes
76 mins: Samoa nearly break after a Finn kick works its way into Carmont’s hands, but his pass to Meli is dropped.
78 mins: TRY Pat Richards
Ireland kill the game off as Samoa yet again balls up a kick into their in-goal, and Richards takes advantage to pounce and score his hat-trick. He misses the touchline conversion, but it doesn’t matter at this point.
SAM 16- 34 IRE
79 mins: Blanch runs into touch, and it’s game over.
FINAL SCORE: Samoa 16 – 34 Ireland
Very well played by Ireland, who were just the smarter team. I did wonder if Samoa’s lack of a true playmaker would come back to haunt them, but after the Tonga I thought they had found a way around it. Apparently not.