Samoa opens Rugby World Cup campaign with convincing win over Chile
Posted : 16 September 2023
Samoa kicked off their Rugby World Cup Pool D campaign with a convincing bonus-point victory over Chile in Bordeaux. While Chile managed an early lead with Matias Dittus scoring a try, Samoa took control towards the end of the first half. Former Australia fly-half Christian Leali'ifano was instrumental, contributing 14 points with his precise kicking, and Duncan Paia'aua added to the tally with a late try.
In the second half, Samoa dominated the game, securing four tries courtesy of Jonathan Taumateine, Fritz Lee, and a brace from Sama Malolo. Samoa, with a strong squad, is aiming for their first quarter-final appearance since 1995, exemplified by their narrow 17-13 warm-up defeat to top-ranked Ireland in August.
Ahead of the World Cup, Samoa bolstered their team by recruiting former All Blacks players Lima Sopoaga, Steven Luatua, and Charlie Faumuina due to changes in World Rugby eligibility rules. However, it was Leali'ifano's precise kicking and playmaking that played a vital role in Samoa's success, orchestrating their attacks effectively.
Chile, in their second-ever World Cup appearance, struggled to maintain their attacking style consistently. Fly-half Rodrigo Fernandez had moments of brilliance, contributing to their opening score, but found it challenging to make a significant impact in the second half.
While Samoa is growing in confidence, they face tougher challenges ahead and will likely need victories against two of Argentina, Japan, or England to advance further in the tournament. Their next match is against Argentina in Saint-Étienne on Friday, while Chile will face England in Lille next Saturday.