Rugby Union: Western Samoa left weather-beaten

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The Independent Online
North 34 Western Samoa 8

Even the pious Samoans, used to something rather hotter, might have questioned whether yesterday's snow on the Dales was heaven-sent. Put in this context, their second string deserved great credit for their performance in last night's conclusive defeat at Britain's Building of the Year in Huddersfield.

Dank weather has accompanied the islanders wherever they have gone but conditions at the McAlpine Stadium were something else again. Although many of the Samoans live in New Zealand, where they do have snow, some had never seen the stuff before they got to Yorkshire.

It was not conducive to brisk handling of the Samoan variety, nor of the Northern variety for that matter. In front of a crowd reduced to 7,177 by severe weather, both sides initially found it next to impossible to string together any decent rugby.

Predictably, therefore, it was down to the kickers to try to establish the early advantage, whether hoofing it to and fro tennis-style or else, now and then, going for goal.

Rob Liley and Campbell Burnes each failed with an early sighter - Liley's being into the snow and so the more difficult - before the former gave the North the lead with his next attempt and Burnes swiftly replied for the tourists.

This was as long as the North needed to settle themselves and in the five minutes before half-time they scored two sparkling winger's tries, both converted by Liley and both owing the scoring pass to the England full-back challenger, Tim Stimpson.

Herbert, Shelley and Matt Greenwood led the attack for the first, the ball then being dispatched along the line through Stimpson for Jim Naylor's strength and speed to pierce the Samoan defence. A cut-out pass by Liley with Stimpson the go-between sent Jim Mallinder on his run for the second.

Mercifully, the snow eased to flurries in the second half - which evidently suited the Samoans. They finally put together a combined move worth the name which gave them their only try.

Brendan Reidy engineered the position from which Alan Autagavaia sent Kaisa Tuigamala away. The Northern response was emphatic: a second penalty by Liley followed by tries by Liley and Richard Arnold, both converted by Liley.

North: Tries Naylor, Mallinder, Liley, Arnold; Conversions Liley 4; Penalties Liley 2. Western Samoa: Try Tuigamala; Penalty Burnes.

NORTH: T Stimpson (West Hartlepool); J Naylor (Orrell), W Greenwood (Harlequins), P Johnson (Orrell, capt), J Mallinder; R Liley (Sale), A Healey (Orrell); G Baldwin (Wakefield), S Diamond (Sale), M Shelley (West Hartlepool), M Greenwood (Wasps), J Fowler (Sale), R Arnold (Newcastle), C Vyvyan (Sale), N Ashurst (Sale). Replacement: T Herbert (West Hartlepool) for Diamond, 26.

WESTERN SAMOA: A Autagavaia (Suburbs); T Fa'aiuaso (Police), S Laeaga (Suburbs), K Tuigamala (Scopa), F Fereti (Apia); C Burnes (University), M Vaea (Marist); B Reidy (Marist St Patrick's), O Matauaiau (Moata'a), G Latu (Vaimoso), S Lemamea ((Scopa), M Birtwistle (Suburbs, capt), L Ta'aia (Police), S Smith (Helensville), M Iupeli (Marist).

Referee: I Ramage (Berwick-on-Tweed).

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