Evans double edges Wales past Samoa

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 05:54
Large rory thornton wales charges 800

REPORT: A two-try effort from Steffan Evans gave Wales a narrow 19-17 win over Samoa in Apia on Friday on a quagmire pitch.

The Scarlets wing ensured Robin McBryde's men had back-to-back victories after last week's win over Tonga, with the 22-year-old crossing for the game's deciding try in the 74th minute.

The young Wales side - missing 16 front-line players and coach Warren Gatland to British and Irish Lions duties - gave it their all in draining conditions.

They were facing a physical Samoa side determined to impress on home soil after being thrashed 0-78 by the All Blacks in Auckland last week.

"It's one of the toughest games I've played in, the conditions were pretty atrocious and both teams were limited to playing a bit of a kicking game," Wales captain Jamie Roberts said.

Heading into the match, Roberts was on 95 caps, 33 more than the rest of the starting XV combined.

"I'm so proud of the lads. It was a bit of an arm-wrestle but to come through in the last 10 minutes showed a lot of grit from the new lads," he added.

Wales hit early trouble when Samoa spread the ball wide after a scrum, then sent a long-distance pass to an unmarked Alapati Leiua to score on the other wing. 

Tusi Pisi added the conversion and a penalty to make it 10-0 as Wales struggled in humid, rainy conditions. 

The Samoans gave Wales no space and forced four turnovers in the first 10 minutes with ferocious tackling before the tourists steadied. 

Fullback Gareth Anscombe almost had a try after showing impressive soccer skills kicking the ball through the Samoa defence, but it was three penalties from flyhalf Sam Davies that narrowed the score to 9-10 at the break.

A Davies mistake was nearly costly when he tried to kick the ball out on the half-time siren, but failed to find touch and Samoa threatened to score.

The tourists took the lead immediately after the restart when Evans crossed after Josh Navidi charged down the ball to give them possession. Samoa hit back when Kahn Fotuali'i caught the Wales defence napping, setting up a converted try for Manu Leiataua. 

Errors mounted as players tired on the muddy field but Wales patiently worked the ball up the middle for 12 phases before shifting it wide for Evans to dot down hi second in the corner. It gave Wales a two-point lead with five minutes on the clock and Samoa threw everything into attack but could not find a way through the desperate defence.

Scorers:

For Samoa:
Tries: Leiua, Leiataua
Cons: Pisi 2
Pen: Pisi

For Wales:
Tries: Evans 2
Pens: S Davies 3

Teams:

Samoa: 15 D'Angelo Leuila, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Reynold Lee-lo, 11 David Lemi (Captain), 10 Tusitala Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotualii, 8 Fata Alafoti Faosiliva, 7 Galu Taufale, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Faatiga Lemalu, 4 Chris Vui, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Maatulimanu Leiataua, 1 Viliamu Afatia.
Replacements: 16 Seilala Lam, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Bronson Fotualii-Tauakipulu, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Vavae Tuilagi, 21 Dwayne Polataivao, 22 Henry Taefu, 23 Tila Mealoi

Wales: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Cory Allen, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jamie Roberts (captain), 11 Steffan Evans, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Scott Williams.

Date: Friday, June 23
Venue: Apia Park, Apia
Kick-off: 19.30 (07.30 BST; 06.30 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)

Agence France-Presse