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Wales edge to scrappy Samoa win

23rd June 2017

Wales fought back twice to secure a gritty victory over Samoa with five Cardiff Blues in the starting line-up.

Robin McBryde’s youthful side found themselves trailing by 10-points early on at Apia Park and were made to battle all the way in wet conditions.

Sam Davies kept his side in touch with three penalties as Wales trailed 10-9 at half-time and they claimed two second-half tries to snatch the spoils.

Steff Evans crossed just minutes after the restart before Maatulimanu Leiataua hit-back for Manu Samoa.

And while accuracy was sometimes lacking in the testing weather, Wales’ territorial dominance in the final quarter eventually told as Evans completed his brace.

Wales got off to a sluggish start at Apia Park as errors littered their game in difficult conditions.

They made a series of mistakes from the kick-off and when Steff Evans was clattered and lost the ball from a Samoan clearance, the Islanders went on the attack.

They went from left to right until Alapati Leuiua squeezed in the corner as Wales ran out of numbers.

Tusi Pisi added the conversion and a further penalty to open up a 10-0 lead and continued to threaten.

Wales displayed plenty of attacking intent but were continually hampered by handling errors.

Sam Davies kept the scoreboard ticking and Gareth Anscombe almost sparked Wales into life as he chipped the ball over the top from first receiver and hacked on.

He was just beaten to the skidding ball but Samoa took the ball over the whitewash and Wales were gifted a gilt-edged attacking opportunity.

They attacked with a first-phase set-pay move but it was read superbly by Cardiff Blues ace Rey Lee-Lo, who hammered Steff Evans into the turf.

Possession was retained and Wales remained in the ascendant but the opportunity was lost when Sam Davies dinked a speculative kick to the corner, despite an overlap.

Samoa went the other end and threatened in the closing stages but Wales clung on and went into the interval trailing 10-9.

They surged into the lead early in the second-half thanks to an Aaron Shingler charge down. He hacked on before Ellis Jenkins got in on the action with another grubber forward.
The Cardiff Blues flanker secured the ball and after it was recycled it was spread left with Dillon Lewis making the scoring pass.

Wales’ lead was short-lived as mistakes continued to hamper their progress. This time a defensive switch-off saw Kahn Fotuali’i sneak through a ruck to put Samoa on the front foot.

They remained in the ascent before hooker Leiataua raced over to regain the lead. However Wales controlled the final quarter and they finally broke through following a fine offload from Cory Allen inside the Samoa 22.

Quick hands from Davies, Scott Williams and finally Anscombe put Evans into the corner for the match-winning try, which

Wales: Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues); Cory Allen (Ospreys), Tyler Morgan (Dragons), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins, capt), Steffan Evans (Scarlets); Sam Davies (Ospreys), Aled Davies (Scarlets); Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues).
Replacements: Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Ospreys), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Thomas Young (Wasps), Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues), Owen Williams (Gloucester), Scott Williams (Scarlets).

Samoa: D'Angelo Leuila; Alapati Leiua, Kieron Fonotia, Reynold Lee-Lo, David Lemi (capt); Tusi Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i; Viliamu Afatia, Maatulimanu Leiataua, Paul Alo-Emile, Chris Vui, Faatiga Lemalu, Piula Faasalele, Galu Taufale, Fata Alafoti Faosiliva.

Replacements: Seilala Lam, Nephi Leatigaga, Bronson Fotualii-Tauakipulu, Faifili Levave, Vavae Tuilagi, Dwayne Polataivao, Henry Taefu, Tila Mealoi.