Manu Samoa

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Tuesday, 26 June 2007

World Cup is the Focus

SAMOA

2007 Pool: A (England, South Africa, USA, Tonga)

World Ranking: 10

Key players: Alesani Tuilagi, Cencus Johnston

A proud rugby nation whose players seem genetically designed for the physical challenges of the sport.

Samoa are always a threat due to their powerful running and uncompromising defence. Few teams enjoy facing Samoa as they always leave the field bumped and bruised and knowing they have been in a difficult game.

Announced themselves to the rugby world at the 1991 RWC when they reached the quarter-finals before going down to Scotland at Murrayfield. Wing Brian Lima, known as the 'Chiropractor' due to his bone-crunching tackles, was one of the players of the tournament.

Having also reached the quarter-finals in 1995, Samoa's finest RWC moment arguably came four years later when they defeated hosts Wales 38-31 at the Millennium Stadium for a spot in the quarter-final play-offs.

Then known as Western Samoa, the victory led to one Welsh commentator delivering the immortal line: "If that's what Western Samoa can do to us, thank God we didn't play the whole of Samoa!"

Samoa gave England a huge scare in their pool clash at the 2003 tournament when they led for more than 50 minutes thanks to some breathtaking rugby, probably the finest in their history. England's superior fitness eventually told as they won 35-22, but it was a victory had earned.

Samoa were unable to progress from a tough pool in 2003 that also included South Africa and they have again been drawn with the two powerhouses in 2007.

Because of this they are unlikely to make it to the quarter-finals but both England and South Africa will not take them lightly.

Coached by legendary All Black flanker Michael Jones, Samoa have been looking to develop a more structured game to compliment their renowned running skills.

Prop Cencus Johnston adds stability to their front row, along with his powerhouse running, while Alesani Tuilagi is a wrecking-ball of a wing that can cause problems for any team. Just ask Gloucester, who were on the end of a devastating performance by the Leicester favourite in the English Premiership final.

Also dangerous on the other wing is David Limi, who proved one of the most lethal finishers with Bristol in last season's Premiership.

This summer, Samoa were beaten 35-8 away to South Africa and finished third in the Pacific Nations Cup with three wins from five games.

Rugby World Cup Record

2003: Pool stage

1999: Quarter-final play-off

1995: Quarter-finals

1991: Quarter-finals

1987: Did not participate

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope the Manu Samoa can manage to beat both England and SA? If the continue to perform I believe they will managed to pull out an upset