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.

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
Arts and Entertainment
James Dean on the set of 'Rebel without a Cause', 1955
photographyHe brought documentary photojournalism to Tinseltown, and in doing so, changed the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
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

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing