Rugby League: Great Britain undone by slack defending: Schofield returns after five-week absence

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The Independent Online
WESTERN SAMOA provided the shock of the first day in the World Sevens here, beating Great Britain 18-14 after extra time, by copying their rugby union countrymen and turning over a northern hemisphere side universally considered to be superior. The hold that sevens has in the South Pacific should have sounded the warning bells before the match started and note should have been taken of the well-developed techniques of the Fijian side in their victory over South Africa.

Britain got off to a slow start and were never in the lead. One missed goal kick from Jonathan Davies could have made all the difference as the match ended tied at 14-14.

Western Samoa, reported to have been training for months, and bringing with them the reputation of a creditable performance here last year, took advantage of some confused British defending to open up a 10-0 lead with tries from Des Maea and Mathew Tuisamoa, and the goal from Maea's brother Aleki.

When Britain regained their composure, they scored two good tries either side of half-time through St John Ellis and Martin Pearson, with Davies missing the first conversion and succeeding with the second. Two more tries came before the end, for earlier scorers Maea and Ellis, to leave the match all-square, a deadlock which was resolved in classic sevens fashion by a long pass to the wing, Brian Laumatia, who cut inside past Ellis to score.

Great Britain now have little chance of proceeding to the Cup competition with its Aus dollars 100,000 ( pounds 49,000) first prize.

The South African hooker, Henry Kemp, was suspended from the tournament after information from an South African Rugby Union doctor, Ismail Jakoet, revealed that Kemp had tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone 18 months ago, and had been suspended for two years.

GREAT BRITAIN: Tait (Leeds), St J Ellis (Castleford), Davies (Warrington), Steadman (Castleford), Clarke (Wigan), Jackson (Sheffield), Joynt (St Helens). Substitutes: Medley (Bradford Northern), Pearson (Featherstone Rovers), Bentley (Halifax).

WESTERN SAMOA: Tatupu, A Maea, D Maea, P Tuimavave, T Tuimavave, Tuisamoa, Lima. Substitutes: Laumatia, Fuimaono, Lameta.

RESULTS: St George 14 Balmain 10; Newcastle 18 Illawarra 16; Brisbane 26 Wests 22; Fiji 18 South Africa 14; France 18 US 12; Canterbury 22 Parramatta 18; Easts 24 Souths 10; Manly 20 Cronulla 0; Norths 22 Gold Coast 0; Tonga 36 Japan 4; Western Samoa 18 Great Britain 14 (aet).

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