Alapati Leiua crosses for the Manu Samoa’s first try with smiles from No.4. Josh Tyrell and winger Ed Fidow in support
STAFF REPORTERS and Photos by Gerwin Polu
APIA, SAMOA – SATURDAY 30 JUNE 2018: It was to be expected as the national rugby teams nine game win less streak must end infront of a home crowd so desperate for victory.
The much anticipated qualifier for the 2019 World Cup against Germany had the backdrop of stern words by the Samoa Rugby Union Chairman challenging the players to do well. And the Germans had a quiet confidence they could pull an upset against Samoa.
So after this afternoons 66-15 victory at Apia Park, Coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua could not wait to acknowledge the country’s tapuaiga – prayers.
“We thank you Samoa for your tapuaiga. We know that after the previous results, your confidence and faith in the team faded. But we thank you for your continuing faith and trust in the team.”
Sparked by a feisty dynamo of a halfback, Melani Matavao, Manu Samoa scored after three minutes to No. 12 Alapati Leiua.
Germany was quick to respond with a penalty and kept close with 7-3 points.
But Meilani Matavao, a rare home grown talent of the A’ana Chiefs Super Nine franchise to make the team, kept breaking the German line and sparked his teams’ spirit and scored the first of his two tries and extending the lead 14-3.
Before the end of the first half, shades of a dominant forward pack failed in execution to the end. But tries to loose forward Jack Lam, winger Ed Fidow kept the score at 35-3 at half time.
Ten minutes into the second half, after Joe Tekori replaced Piula Faasalele, Manu Samoa scored again extending the lead to 42-3.
Coach Fuimaono Titimea Tafua then made more changes in a bid to give his players game time. But it resulted in Germany crossing in the first of the visitors’ two tries of the match. No.7. Jacob Otto crossed twice but the first conversion by Raynor Parkinson failed and kept the visitors score to 15.
Manu Samoa however, despite the video referee denying two other attempts, crossed three more times through Joe Tekori, Vice Captain Paul Perez and winger Ed Fidow to push the final score to 66-15.
Germanys Head Coach Pablo Lemone is disappointed with his teams’ performance saying his team was not at the level of the world cup and the respect that must be accorded a team such as Manu Samoa.
Manu Samoa Coach, Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua said they aimed for a high score as in today’s match.
The fans and supporters who had been erecting flags at homes and offices and moving vehicles throughout the week in support of the team, were singing and cheering well after the match and after the teams left the Park.
Players from the legendary 1991 team were around the park and celebrated with the fans after this afternoons’ victory.
The mood was very much the same around the country later in the evening as the team that burst into the world rugby stage and made its name by beating Wales in the 1991 World Cup, could not afford to have their team not qualify for the 2019 event in Japan.
Manu Samoa departs for Germany on Monday morning and will regroup in London for a week before heading to the second clash with Germany in Bonn 14 July.
“All we need now is to win in Bonn to qualify for the World Cup,” said Fuimaono.