Kiwis Survive Late Samoa Comeback
PRESS RELEASEKiwis Survive Late Samoa Comeback
Warrington, England, October 27, 2013 – The Kiwis survived a spirited second-half comeback by Samoa to win their opening Rugby League World Cup game 42-24 tonight in Warrington.
The Kiwis started strongly and were ahead 22-4 at the break and 36-4 not long into the second half. But the last 30mins belonged to Samoa, who were just 12 points shy of the Kiwis with 10mins to play. A late Manu Vatuvei try - his third of the game – ensured a Kiwis victory though.
“They gained the momentum,” said the Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney of the Samoans in the second half. “We dropped some ball and touched it a couple of times whilst they had the footy. We didn’t see a great deal of possession for 20 mins there and, to their credit, I thought they played with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm and consequently put some tries on us.”
The Samoans grabbed four tries in the space of 13 mins, which will be something for Kearney and Ivan Cleary (the Kiwis assistant coach) to take a close look at in their match review. But they’ll also see some classy touches by the Kiwis on the video.
Dean Whare, who was named ‘Man of the Match’, started the tournament in superb form at right centre, making some lovely space for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck on the right wing. On Test debut, Tuivasa-Sheck scored his first try for the Kiwis in the 17th minute with a spectacular diving effort in the right-hand corner.
Simon Mannering, who was captaining the Kiwis in an official Test match for the first time, scored two tries in the first half, while Vatuvei finished just one try short of his World Cup record of four in a match.
Tonight’s match was played in front of a capacity crowd of 14,965 at Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The Kiwis don’t have long to dwell on the result. The morning after the match they'll start their travels to Avignon to get set for Friday night's game against France. France beat Papua New Guinea 9-8 in Hull earlier on Sunday evening.
Thomas Leuluai, who rested a minor groin complaint this week, should be available for selection again France. That match kicks off at 8am (NZ-time) on Saturday, November 2.
At Halliwell Jones Stadium:
Kiwis 42 (Manu Vatuvei 3, Simon
Mannering 2, Josh Hoffman, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Issac Luke
tries. Shaun Johnson 5 goals).
Samoa 24 (Ben Roberts, Joseph Leilua, Penani Manumeasili, Suaia Matagi, Antonio Winterstein tries. Anthony Milford 2 goals).
Halftime: 22-4 (Kiwis)
Referee: Richard Silverwood
Kiwis: Josh Hoffman, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare, Bryson Goodwin, Manu Vatuvei, Kieran Foran (Vice-captain), Shaun Johnson, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Issac Luke, Jesse Bromwich, Frank Pritchard, Sonny Bill Williams, Simon Mannering (Captain). Interchange: Elijah Taylor, Sam Moa, Sam Kasiano, Frank-Paul Nu’uausala. Coach: Stephen Kearney.
Samoa: Anthony Milford, Antonio Winterstein, Junior Sa’u, Joseph Leilua, Daniel Vidot, Reni Maitua, Ben Roberts, David Fa’alogo, Pita Godinet, Suaia Matagi, Iosia Soliloa (Captain), Frank Winterstein, Sauaso Sue. Interchange: Penani Manumeasili, Leeson Ah Mau, Mark Taufua, Mose Masoe. Coach: Matt Parish.