World Cup Report: Papua New Guinea 4-38 Samoa

Samoa put one foot in the quarter-finals with a comprehensive victory over a disappointing Papua New Guinea at Craven Park.

It all but ends Papua New Guinea‘s hopes of getting out the group, unless they can pull off an unlikely victory over New Zealand at Leeds on Friday.

They just couldn’t recover from an error-strewn opening quarter of which Samoa took full advantage, with winger Antonio Winterstein finishing the game with a hat-trick of tries.

Captain Sia Soliola and full-back Anthony Milford were top performers in what was a dominant performance, especially in the first half, as the Samoans continued from the promise they showed in the second half against the Kiwis last Sunday.

It took just 81 seconds for the first try, Samoa taking advantage of the field position gifted to them two tackles after the kick-off, with prop Suaia Matagi powering over from close range.

Papua New Guinea couldn’t complete their sets early doors, and dropped ball in their own half once again led to a score. Anthony Milford‘s kick forced a repeat set, and the ball was shifted left to Tim Lafai, who sat out the defeat to New Zealand through suspension, and his smart offload put Antonio Winterstein over in the corner.

Samoa were dominant, and playing some nice football to go with it. Pita Godinet got on the end of a lovely move where several players kept the ball alive, before Joseph Leilua broke the line and got it away for the hooker to score.

Exciting full-back Milford was having a field day, and he was denied a wonderful solo try when he was held up over the line following a weaving run.

It took almost 20 minutes until Papua New Guinea even managed a play the ball in the Samoan half, and when they finally made a foray towards the line, Josiah Abavu was denied a try by a forward pass call on Menzie Yere.

Samoa then went up the other end and delivered the sucker punch. Impressive Samoan captain Sia Soliola put Lafai away down the left and he once again linked up for Winterstein to finish well in the corner, for a try which was expertly converted by Milford for 22-0.

Papua New Guinea‘s woe was summed up on the stroke of half time, when second-rower Jason Chan, of all people, attempted a chip kick over the defensive line, only to see Ben Roberts pluck it out of the air and race 60m for an interception score, and Samoa went in at the break 28-0 to the good.

The game was over as a contest and a drab second half followed.

Papua New Guinea at least gave the 6,781 crowd something to cheer about when Jessie Joe Nandye finished off a break by Yere and Abavu down the left, for their only try, and a disappointing conversion attempt by Isreal Eliab meant they remain without a goal in the tournament.

Samoa added two more tries of their own, the first through Sauaso Sue, who powered over from close range.

Winterstein scored his hat-trick try in the final minute, chasing on to Roberts’ grubber kick and beating the ball to the dead ball line.

It now means that Samoa‘s trip to France next Monday will likely decide England‘s quarter-final opponents.

Steve McNamara’s men will face either the winner or the loser of the match, dependent on whether they defeat Fiji in their final group game on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of www.swpix.com.

Papua New Guinea: Mead, Abavu, Yere, Eliab, McDonald, Aiye, Thompson, Mexico, Aiton, Marabe, Nandye, Chan, Costigan. Interchanges: Wabo, Kambo, Tali, Maki.

Scorers: Tries – Nandye (46) Goals – Eliab 0/1

Samoa: Milford, A Winterstein, Lafai, Leilua, Vidot, Manumaleali, Roberts, Fa’alogo, Godinet, Matagi, Soliola, Ah Mau, Sue. Interchanges: Sio, Moors, Taufua, Masoe.

Scorers: Tries – Matagi (2), A Winterstein (9, 25, 79), Godinet (15), Roberts (38), Sue (61) Goals – Milford 5/7

Venue: Craven Park, Hull

Attendance: 6,871

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