Samoa held a handy 17-nil lead after 30 minutes and scored four tries to one to overthrow the world’s No.2 side and record the tiny island nation’s greatest ever Rugby victories, and their first ever over Australia.
The visitors were outstanding, regularly outmuscling the Wallabies at the breakdown while their dangerous backline outshined the disjointed Australians.
Samoa assistant coach Aussie McLean said the nine-point victory gives his side great hope for the Rugby World Cup which is just over eight weeks away.
“Today was about respect, we wanted to get respect and today we did that,” McLean said.
“Our goal at the Rugby World Cup is to make the quarter-finals, and out there today our players performed 15-20 per cent better in the blue jersey than what they would have done if they were playing for their clubs and that’s what you want in a side,” McLean said.
Second row Dan Leo said: “‘There was probably a bit of underestimation on the Wallabies’ part. We fed off the fact that they were using it as a trial match for a few guys they hadn’t seen; we were quite offended by that.
“We used that to fuel the fire. Everyone came out firing. Pacific Island teams have always had great success coming in as underdogs, we thrive on that.”
Skipper Mahroni Schwalger was delighted with the win.
“This is something special, a win like this creates history for Samoa,” Schwalger said.
“To beat Australia, we had to beat them at their own game and we knew we could beat them in contact.”
Samoa drew first blood against the highly-favoured home side with flyhalf Tusi Pisi slotting a 45-metre penalty goal to give the visitors a 3-0 lead in the fourth minute.
Big winger Alesana Tuilagi then capitalised on some loose ball at the Wallabies ruck and pinned his ears back and out sprinted everyone, including a chasing Matt Giteau, to score a spectacular 60m solo try to the raptures of the vocal Samoans in the near 30,000-strong crowd.
Pisi, who was later named man of the match, made no mistake with the conversion to give Manu Samoa a handy 10-0 lead in the 13th minute.
The visitors bounded out to a 17-0 advantage when fullback Paul Williams charged down Wallabies debutant halfback Nick Phipps’s attempted clearance kick deep inside Australia’s 22 to score, with Pisi nailing a difficult conversion from the sideline.
Lock Daniel Leo drew the wrath of Marius Jonker in the 37th minute for playing the ball in the ruck and was sent to the sin bin, giving the Wallabies the advantage they were searching for after coming off second best in much of the game’s physical battle.
Australia fought back to be within seven points at halftime through a try to Queensland Reds winger Digby Ioane and a conversion and late penalty goal to Giteau which sent the Wallabies to the break trailing 17-10.
Samoa took time to regroup at halftime and were the first over the chalk after the break with a brilliant try to lock Kane Thompson in the 47th minute taking the visitors back out to a 22-13 lead.
George Pisi befitted from a clever Tuilagi chip kick which the Wallabies fumbled near the visitor’s tryline just eight minutes later, with the star centre diving over to secure a 16-point lead which Australia never looked like being able to overturn.
The teams swapped penalty goals in the 58th and 66th minutes but Samoa seemed to step it up it up a notch holding a 32-16 lead.
A slice of individual brilliance from Wallabies replacement backrower Scott Higganbotham gave the Wallabies hope when the Super Rugby champion chipped and regathered the ball before throwing a miraculous offload to Giteau to send the flyhalf over in the corner.
However with just under nine minutes remaining on the clock the gap proved too great and the Samoans recorded a well-deserved first-ever win over Australia.
Following the Qantas Wallabies 32-23 loss to Manu Samoa Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said.
“We weren’t good enough at what we did. They’re a good combination, it was a globally selected side, it’s a world cup squad, where we’re at, we’re just stating we knew that.
“I think the injection late in the game showed what we could have done but it was too late.
“It’s a game that I’ll remember, obviously, we won’t focus on individuals at this stage but for blokes that get the call again they’ve had a good learning experience.
“Some of the Reds who didn’t come back into the squad until Monday will come back into contention but in regards to the injured players not much will change there, we’ll just have to wait and see, we’ve got six days until we face the Springboks.”
Qantas Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom said:
“I’m not happy about it, I don’t think anyone is, but we’ve got six days till will play the Springboks so we’ve got plenty to work on.
“I think the thing that let us down was that we weren’t effective enough in attack.
“They put on good shots and they deserved to win but we weren’t effective enough in attack.
“I think the island sides are better when they get their full complement back and I think they’d be happy to have all their players all the time.”
Samoa 32: Tries – Alesana Tuilagi (11th minute), Paul Williams (29th minute), Kane Thompsen (46th minute), George Pisi (55th minute). Conversions – Tusi Pisi 3. Pen. Goals – Tusi Pisi 2.
Australia 23: Tries – Digby Ioane (38th minute), Matt Giteau (71st minute). Conversions – Matt Giteau 2. Pen Goals –Matt Giteau 3.
Australia: 15 Mark Gerrard, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 Rocky Elsom (c), 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Dan Vickerman, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Will Genia, 22 Kurtley Beale.
Samoa: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 George Pisi, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 George Stowers, 7 Maurie Fa’asavalu, 6 Taisina Tuifu’a, 5 Daniel Leo, 4 Kane Thompson, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Mahonri Schwalger (c), 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Ti’i Paulo, 17 Census Johnston, 18 Filipo Lavea Levi, 19 Manaia Salavea, 20 Brenton Helleur, 21 Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu, 22 James So’oialo.
Minutes By Minute:
2nd: Samoa Penalty – pen goal –Tusi Pisi
5th: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
6th: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
7th: Accidental offside – scrum to Samoa
11th: Try to Samoa – Alesana Tuilagi (picked up a loose ball on his 22 before steaming away for 75m try)
12th: Conversion by Samoa (con –Tusi Pisi)
13th: Penalty to Samoa – kick to touch
15th: Knock-on – scrum to Australia
17th: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
18th: Penalty to Australia – quick tap
23rd: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
26th: Australia Penalty – missed pen goal attempt by Giteau
29th: Try to Samoa – Paul Williams (charged down a Phipps kick inside Australia’s 22 and followed up the loose ball)
30th: conversion by Samoa – con – Tusi Pisi
35th: Penalty to Australia
37th: Yellow card Daniel Leo
38th: Try to Australia – Digby Ioane
39th: Conversion to Australia
40th: Penalty to Australia – pen goal – Matt Giteau
41st: Penalty to Australia
42nd: Penalty goal to Australia – pen goal Matt Giteau
46th: Try to Samoa – Kane Thompson
48th: Missed conversion attempt
51st: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
51st: Nathan Sharpe replaced by Dan Vickerman and Matt Hodgson replaced by Beau Robinson
52nd: Penalty to Australia – kick to touch
54th: Samoa possible try sent to TMO
55th: Try awarded to Samoa – George Pisi.
56th: Conversion by Samoa – con – Tusi Pisi
56th: Nick Phipps replaced by Will Genia and Mark Gerard replaced by Kurtley Beale
57th: Penalty to Australia
58th: Penalty Goal to Australia – pen goal – Matt Giteau
59th: George Pisi replaced by Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu
60th: Penalty to Samoa – kick to touch
60th: Ben McCalman replaced by Scott Higginbotham
64th: Penalty to Samoa
66th: Penalty Goal to Samoa – pen goal – Tusi Pisi
66th: Taulafo Sakaria replaced by Census Johnston
69th: Kane Thompsen replaced by Filipo Lavea Levi
71st: Try to Australia – Matt Giteau
72nd: Conversion to Australia – con- Matt Giteau
72nd: Tusi Pisi replaced by Brenton Helleur
76th: Taiasina Tuifua replaced by Manaia Salavea
77th: Mahonri Schwalger replaced by Tii Paulo
80th: Full time score – Samoa 32 v Australia 23
Head Coach – Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua
Assistant Coach – Brian ‘Aussie’ McLean
Assistant Coach – Tom Coventry
Scrum Coach – Mike Casey
Skills Coach – Scott Wisemantel
S&C – David Edgar
Performance Analyst– Marcus Agnew
Video Analyst – Junior Narayan
Doctor – Tuuau Shaun Mauiliu
Physiotherapist – Matthew Taylor
Team Manager – Tuala Matthew Vaea
Assistant Manager – Ryan Schuster