WATCH: Alapati Leiua on point as Samoa trounce Russia in World Cup opener 3 years ago

WATCH: Alapati Leiua on point as Samoa trounce Russia in World Cup opener

A bonus point win for Manu Samoa but they rode their luck at stages.

Match-day 5 of the World Cup saw Samoa begin their tournament with a clash against Russia in Pool A. This was the first ever time that these two sides had met but several roughed up Russians will feel this contest a while yet.


Russia 9-34 Samoa

The Bears came into the game having lost their opener against hosts Japan leaving them fourth in the group and yet to win a match in the World Cup having lost all five of their previous attempts.

As the two teams headed out to the cheers of the raucous crowd, Samoa delayed kickoff with a performance of their ceremonial Siva Tau.


First Half: A tight contest

Russia struggled to get past the Samoan defence in the early stages despite seeing plenty of the ball.


16 minutes in, though, and it was the Pacific Islanders with a try as they went through the phases within the Russian half to land a breakthrough. Alapati Leiua gathered the ball out wide following a lovely pass from Tim Nanai Williams and then sidestepped Vasily Artemyev to score. The subsequent conversion was missed by Tusi Pisi.

Just three minutes later, Russia were awarded a penalty as Samoa were adjudged to be offside. Yuri Kushnarev made no mistake as the scoreline read 3-5 to Samoa.

21 minutes in and Samoa still had the lion's share of possession with 57% and had done enough to warrant their lead.


Nearly 25 minutes in and the warm conditions began to take a toll on the players. Nevertheless, a few moments later, Russia were awarded a penalty at the break down and Kushnarev promptly stepped up to convert to give Russia the lead for the first time in the game.

28 minutes in and referee Romain Poite found himself reviewing a possible foul on Artemyev by Samoan centre Rey Lee-Lo. Following a lengthy consultation, Lee-lo was sin-binned with a yellow card leaving Russia with a man advantage.

Two minutes later and captain Artemyev found himself tackled by yet another on-rushing Samoan. This time the crunching blow was delivered by hooker Motu Matu'u, which led to yet another review. Samoa found themselves two men down as Matu'u was yellow carded for his high tackle.

As half-time approached, the Bears didn't seem to take advantage of their extra men and conceded a penalty instead. With four minutes left in the first half, Pisi stepped up and missed, squandering a chance to offer his side the lead.

The gong signalled the end to a fairly engrossing first half as Russia found themselves leading at the break (6-5) for the first time in their entire World Cup history.


Second half: Samoa pull away

Five minutes into the second half and Kirill Gotovtsev found himself yellow carded and sin-binned for a high tackle and seconds later, Samoa responded with a breath-taking try. Nanai-Williams did brilliantly to squirm away from Russian defenders after Samoa went through the phases, before Afaesetiti Amosa scored the try. The scoreline stood at 6-10 to Samoa after Pisi missed his third conversion of the game.

Unfortunately, Amosa was stretchered off in the aftermath of his try, with Josh Tyrell coming on in his place.

48 minutes in and Russia fought back with a drop goal courtesy of Kushnarev who dropped back into a pocket before dispatching the ball between the posts to take them within a point of the Samoans.

Keeping in line with the tempo of the game , just two minutes later, Ed Fidow collected a superb pass from Ray Niuia before sliding past the Russian defence to finish under the posts. This time, Pisi duly converted to take the Samoans eight points clear with around 30 minutes left in the half.

Samoa began to impose themselves on the game and in the 53rd minute, Fidow got in on the act again with his second try of the night after the his teammates swept the ball out left. It teed up Fidow to blaze past the Russian defence and, once again, Pisi converted to take the score to 9-24 to Samoa.

Russia appeared to tire and were struggling to contain the Samoan powerhouse. With less than 20 minutes to go before full-time, Samoa put the result beyond any doubt with a try from centre Lee-Lo. A missed conversion by Pisi put the score at 9-29 to Samoa.

Finishing with a flurry, Samoa secured a try in the 80th minute courtesy of Leiua, who sprinted past Artemyev on the touchline to touch down on the right for a final scoreline of 34-9 to Samoa.

And so it finished at Kumagaya Stadium. Samoa got their World Cup campaign off to a flyer with a bonus point win and will fancy their chances against Scotland next, but they will need to improve their discipline.

Russia, meanwhile, continue to search for their first win with a daunting clash against Ireland coming up and might feel hard done by with the officiating as perhaps both Lee-Lo and Matu'u should have been sent off for those high tackles on Artemyev in the first half.