Saturday, 18 November 2017
World Cup 2017: Samoa
Report card: Their first WC was in 1995, where they played just two games and although not going on to the semi-finals had a positive points differential of +34. In 2000, they came second in their group and got hammered by Australia in the quarter final game 66-10. In 2008, there was a three way tie in their pool but missed out with an inferior for/against scoring record. 2013 was identical to 2000 but this time their quarter final ended with a loss to Fiji, 4-22.
In 2017, they were in a favourable group where three from four progressed. A first up 38-8 loss to New Zealand was followed by a 32-18 defeat to island rivals Tonga. They then met a down and out Scotland team and somehow only managed to draw 14-14. Samoa amazingly got to the next stage of the tournament without winning a game. Their third quarter final ended ignominiously 46-0 to Australia.
This would have to be the worst WC for Samoa. Their attack was muted because the spine of the team was of ordinary standard. They tried hard but without effective leadership, effort counts for very little. With a large pool of professional players to call on, a disappointing result. Although they got into the final eight, I took the unusual step of putting Samoa below into the 9th-11th ranking due to their poor performance.
Final ranking for the tournament: 9th to 11th (out of 14 teams).
Other teams ranked at the 2017 WC. Click on the nation to go to that article.
12th - 14th: Scotland, Wales, USA.
9th - 11th: France, Italy, Samoa.
5th - 8th: Ireland, Lebanon, New Zealand, PNG.
1st - 4th: Australia, England, Fiji, Tonga.