New Zealand's late barrage accounts for physical Samoa
James Mortimer 02 Jun 2014 IRB
Samoa were full value throughout the contest, with their powerful scrum and physical presence at the breakdown ensuring that head coach Chris Boyd will have plenty to think about before taking on South Africa on Friday.
An early penalty was followed by a Jackson Garden-Bachop try after 12 minutes, in a fiery clash where the hits were far beyond what one would normally expect with an age-grade clash.
Mitchell Drummond scored New Zealand’s second as the home team began to up the pace of the match, although the Samoans were causing issues at the set piece, constantly causing disruption at the scrum while they frequently disrupted the lineout of their more favoured opponents.
The threat of Boyd’s troops from long range was obvious, but they would have been delighted with their closing to the first half when Matt Peni scored after a brilliant driving maul.
It was one of the few periods of the clash where the New Zealand forwards had the upper hand.
Working hard to pin the big Samoans back in their own half, the tactics and speed of the hosts looked to be gaining the upper hand, until the Pacific Islanders heavyweight pack got one of their own.
Mounting up several phases, Samoa scored a brutal forward try via Lakisipone Lee, a critical strike that would keep them in the contest, with the game placed at 22-7 after the first 40 minutes.
Garden-Bachop would score his second eight minutes into the second half, to be fair against the run of play as the Samoans came out of the sheds fired up.
Despite spending plenty of time camped in New Zealand’s half, the tournament hosts looked to speed up the game wherever possible, even if they were called upon to defend for long periods.
Cries of “black wall” were yelled up and down the defensive line, and while some of the home team’s players, such as Damien McKenzie and livewire wing Vince Tavae-Aso, were making numerous inroads, Samoa continued to create havoc, especially when New Zealand became isolated.
Nathaniel Apa would score Samoa’s second as the game entered the final quarter, and with that the fixture was delicately poised at 27-12.
At this point Boyd emptied out his bench, looking to put fresh bodies on the field in a physical encounter that was taking an obvious toll on both teams.
Tevita Li and captain Anton Lienart-Brown would score long range counter attacking tries which would blow the scoreline out, before Kyle Harris stormed over to seal the contest.
New Zealand plays great rivals South Africa on Friday, who defeated Scotland 61-5.
In other results, Australia defeated Argentina 36-17, Wales accounted for Fiji 48-19, England were far too strong for Italy winning 63-3, while France were able to beat Ireland 19-13.
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