Ireland were happy to come away with a win from yesterday’s game and end their losing run, but they still have a lot to be worried about. With the score at 13-10 to the hosts for more than 10 minutes, Samoa had a number of chances that could have seen them steal the game and take the scalp they’ve been looking for.
Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger felt they had deserved the win and even had the chance to take the game with 10 minutes left to go. With just a week and a half together before their first Test, a victory over a team five places above them in the world rankings was always going to be a tall order.
The scrum was a mess for most of the game with Samoa surprisingly coming out on top, but Ireland managed to regain some control by bringing on Best and Healy for Cronin and Hayes for the last quarter. Brian O’Driscoll admitted that there had been some confusion between his players and the referee, with Ireland struggling to adapt to Keith Brown’s slower tempo, and it was a frustrating display as the scrum was reset countless times.
Declan Kidney was quick to praise the opposition, admitting he was glad they were not in Ireland’s World Cup pool, and Alesana Tuilagi’s try under the posts on 22 minutes showed the sort of flare they are capable of.
A positive for Ireland was the improvement of their lineout from last week’s performance, with Devin Toner running the show effectively despite winning just his first cap.
Ireland were cagey when asked about their preparations for next week’s Test, but it’s clear that every aspect of their game will have to go up a few levels to avoid humiliation by the All Blacks. They will at least hope to sell a few more tickets for the game than they did for yesterday’s clash, when only 30,955 turned up despite the IRFU arranging a free bus and train service to get to the game.
Ireland (13) 20
Tries: Heaslip, O’Gara Cons: O’Gara 2 Pens: O’Gara 2
Samoa (7) 10
Tries: Tuilagi Cons: Williams Pens: Williams
Ireland: Fitzgerald; Bowe, B O’Driscoll, P Wallace, Trimble; O’Gara, Stringer (Boss 77); Court, Cronin (Best 61), Hayes (Healy 64), O’Callaghan, Toner (Ryan 68), Leamy, O’Brien, Heaslip (Ferris 61)
Not used: Sexton, Earls
Samoa: P Williams; Lemi, Pisi (G Williams 78), Mapusua, Alesana Tuilagi; Lavea (Poluleuligaga 69), Fotualii; Taulafo (Lemalu 77), Schwalger, Anthony Perenise, Levi (Tekori 71), Thompson, Treviranus (Aiono 71), Salavea, Stowers.
Not used: Fualau, Helleur
Referee: Keith Brown