Pumas face battle for possession

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The Independent Online
The rest of Group B may have made a rash assumption in writing off their chances against England, if Argentina's unlucky experience in Durban on Saturday is anything to go by, but the only thing that concerns the Pumas or Western Samoa in East London today is beating each other.

This is particularly so for Argentina, who outscored England by two tries to none but still lost, and will be precariously placed if they lose to the Samoans. Having already trounced Italy, the islanders would in that event be playing on Sunday for the top pool place - however England fare against the Italians tomorrow.

It sounds simple, but will be complicated by the contrasting strength of the Argentine forwards with that of the Italians. Samoa's insoluble problem against any of the bigger rugby countries is possession, and the impressive Pumas, with their vigorous scrum and competitive line-out, are bound to win more than Italy did.

"It is an old cliche but you need ball to win," Bryan Williams, a great former All Black as well as the Samoans' technical adviser, said yesterday, although this theory was notably contradicted by last Thursday's opening match between South Africa and Australia. Williams is giving his captain Peter Fatialofa a rest, with another of the 1991 World Cup heroes, Pat Lam, taking charge.

The Argentine management have left their team well alone, with the necessary exception of promoting the squad's best goal-kicker, Jose Cilley, to try to ensure the crucial misses that condemned them to defeat by England are not repeated.

ARGENTINA (v Western Samoa, East London, today): E Jurado (Rosario); D Cuesta Silva (San Isidro), L Arbizu (Belgrano), S Salvat (Alumni, capt), M Teran (Tucuman); J Cilley (San Isidro), R Crexell (Rosario); M Corral (San Isidro), F Mendez (Mendoza), P Noriega (Hindu), G Llanes (La Plata), P Sporleder (Curupayti), R Martin (San Isidro), J Santamarina (Tucuman), C Viel (Newman).

WESTERN SAMOA: M Umaga (Wellington); B Lima (Marist), T Vaega (Moata'a), T Fa'amasino (Marist), G Harder (Te Atatu); D Kellett (Counties), T Nu'uali'itia (Auckland); M Mika (Otago), T Leiasamaivo (Moata'a), G Latu (Vaimoso), P Leavasu (Apia), L Falaniko Marist), S Tatupu (Auckland), P Lam (Auckland, capt), J Paramore (Manurewa).

Referee: D Bishop (New Zealand).