New Zealand 42 Samoa 24: Vatuvei hat-trick gives Kiwis victory after Samoa scare

 

The Halliwell Jones Stadium

Manu Vatuvei’s second half hat-trick of tries saved the World Cup-holders from potential embarrassment after they clocked off too early, thinking their job was done.

Cruising at 36-4 and showing why it will be hard to wrest the trophy from them in this tournament, the Kiwis were hit by a Samoan backlash. They narrowed the gap to 12 points with a near capacity Warrington crowd firmly behind them – and would have been closer if Anthony Milford had kicked his goals – before Vatuvei made it safe. The fightback had the Samoan coach, Matt Parish, saying: “We were down to 13 men and I was proud of them.”

Such is the robust reputation that Samoa bring with them that everyone always expects World War III.

Last night’s match was full of players who could qualify for either side; the phrase “too close for comfort” sprang to mind. After the first ten minutes it was rather a one-sided war. In that opening period, Samoa looked well capable being troublesome, with Daniel Vidot tackled into touch just short of the flag and Sia Soliola also going close.

When the Kiwis cut loose, however, they were devastating, with four tries in 11 minutes as good as winning the game. Josh Hoffman began the romp, capitalising on a break by Dean Whare. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck then set up Simon Mannering for his first with an electric burst down the right wing. Tuivasa-Sheck got one of his own and Mannering his second as the Kiwis threatened to run riot.

Ben Roberts put Samoa on the scoreboard just before half-time, but the second half saw another purple patch from the men in black, with three more tries in ten minutes. Seeing that  New Zealand are England’s likely semi-final opponents, it was daunting stuff.

But it also ignited the fire in Samoa’s bellies, as they surged back with four tries in swift succession. An extraordinary game seemed to have been settled in a fitting manner when the generally quiet Sonny Bill Williams waltzed through the defence, only to fall over on the dead-ball line to general hilarity, leaving Vatuvei instead to apply the coup de grace.

In Sunday’s earlier game Papua New Guinea fullback David Mead missed a late penalty in front of the posts in Hull to allow France to escape with a 9-8 victory.

Standoff Thomas Bosc burrowed under two defenders to score for France in the fifth minute, then converted his try. Winger Nene McDonald replied for Papua New Guinea on his debut in the 17th. Josiah Abavu’s first try for PNG put them in front two minutes into the new half, but it was their only points. Bosc kicked a penalty in the 60th to tie the score, and William Barthau hit a drop goal four minutes later to regain an unassailable lead.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea