What was hot and what was not from Samoa's 25-16 win over the USA in Brighton


Tries from Tim Nanai-Williams and Ofisa Treviranus helped Samoa open their World Cup campaign with a win over the USA in Brighton. It was a physical contest throughout, with some wince-inducing hits, and the USA’s penalty count meant they could not retain possession for long periods. The Eagles did score two tries themselves, through Chris Wyles and Chris Baumann, and were unlucky to miss out on a bonus point.


Big collisions – Thretton Palamo set the tone in the first minute as he bowled over Reynold Lee-Lo in the first minute, the Samoa centre needing a head injury assessment afterwards. Alesana Tuilagi was another who used his size to good effect with and without the ball. It was a physical contest from start to finish.

AJ MacGinty – Tim Nanai-Williams was the official Man of the Match and showed some great sparks in attack, but USA fly-half AJ MacGinty also caught the eye for an assured display. His kicking for the corners brought great territory gains, he’s an impressive distributor of the ball and made a couple of good breaks too, one resulting in a try for captain Chris Wyles.

Chris Wyles

Line time: Chris Wyles dives over for the USA’s first try. Photo: Getty Images

Rugby talk – On the train to Falmer this morning it was a delight to hear people waxing lyrical about all things rugby. From Japan to Johnny Sexton, they covered all the bases – even those who admitted to not being regular rugby fans. The aim to attract a new audience already looks to be paying off – let’s hope the rest of the tournament continues the trend.

Grubbers – The grubber kick is an oft-underused skill but it delivered two tries for Samoa here. Tim Nanai-Williams got on the end of one to score in the first half while a quick recycle brought one for Ofisa Treviranus too.

Tim Nanai-Williams

All smiles: Tim Nanai-Williams celebrates the game’s first try. Photo: Getty Images


Error count – Knock-ons, crooked lineouts, missed passes and a high penalty count meant there was a stop-start feel to the game and neither side could get much flow. Just as one team looked to be putting together a threatening move, the referee would blow and the momentum was lost.

Kicking radar – Kahn Fotuali’i, Tusi Pisi and AJ MacGinty were among those players whose accuracy was off when kicking from hand. The amount of times kicks went straight out, from Samoa in particular, merely handed the advantage – and the territory – back to the opposition.

Alesana Tuilagi

Hard to stop: Alesana Tuilagi tests the US defence. Photo: Getty Images


6 – The number of clean breaks made by Samoa compared to three by the USA.

29 – The number of tackles missed by the USA, compared to 18 by Samoa.

14 – The number of penalties conceded by the USA, twice as many as Samoa.

Samoa: T Nanai-Williams; K Pisi, P Perez, R Lee-Lo (M Stanley 1-9), A Tuilagi (F Autagavaia 73); T Pisi (M Stanley 58), K Fotuali’i; S Taulafo, O Avei (M Matu’u 66), A Perenise (C Johnston 51), F Paulo, J Tekori (F Levave 58), M Fa’asavalu (A Fa’osiliva 51), J Lam, O Treviranus (capt).

Tries (2): Nanai-Williams, Treviranus. Pens: T Pisi 4, Stanley.

USA: B Scully (B Thompson 54); T Ngwenya, S Kelly, T Palamo, C Wyles (capt); AJ MacGinty, M Petri; E Fry (O Kilifi 71), Z Fenoglio (P Thiel 51), T Lamositele (C Baumann 71), H Smith (C Dolan 51), G Peterson (D Barrett 58), A McFarland, A Durutalo, S Manoa.

Tries (2): Wyles, Baumann. Pens: MacGinty 2.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

Man of the Match: Tim Nanai-Williams

Attendance: 29,178

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