Capo stands tall as Uruguay are overrun

Samoa 60 Uruguay 13
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The Independent Online

The lucky ones get a week off; the Uruguayans get an early visit from Samoa. Seventy-three minutes into another one-sided Pool C contest, the plucky underdogs from South America - how patronising that sounds, but how accurate - were just about on the last dregs of their last legs, having been biffed around by the Springboks last Saturday and then smashed into the middle of next week by the islanders.

Even at that late stage, there was no let-up. Juan Campomar, a scrum-half from Montevideo, was hit hard, high and almost posthumously by Lome Fa'atau. Campomar may not remember much about it.

If and when he regains total recall, he will look back with pride on his country's contribution to this World Cup. They still have two fixtures ahead of them, against Georgia - just about winnable - and England, which will be a very unfunny joke. Neither of those games will affect their reputation one way or the other.

The best of their players - Diego Aguirre, Diego Lamelas, Pablo Lemoine and the magnificent Rodrigo Capo - have raised the bar of Uruguayan rugby to such an extent that they can now spend time in another kind of bar without the slightest feeling of guilt.

Capo scored a try in the first half, Lemoine managed another in the second. They deserved no less. The Samoans, as lightweight as ever in the tight five but highly dangerous, in all senses of the word, in every other department, were always going to be too quick and ruthless for their opponents.

However, from 29-5 down at the interval - the kind of deficit that often signals impending collapse - the Uruguayans emerged with honour enhanced.

England and South Africa will have noted one or two Samoan names for forthcoming reference. They know Brian Lima of old, of course, and the great warhorse of a threequarter claimed a brace of tries to take his career tally to nine in 13 World Cup outings.

Now they have some more problem players to contemplate: Fa'atau, a brilliant attacking threat on the right wing; Semo Sititi, a heavy-duty performer at No 8; and, most notably, Maurie Fa'asavalu, whose running game at open-side flanker is as hot as anything yet seen in this tournament.

A quarter-final place is almost certainly beyond Samoa this time, but Fa'asavalu can expect a professional Premiership contract any day now.

Samoa: Tries Fa'asavalu 2, Lima 2, Tagicakibau, Fa'atau, Lemalu, Vili, Feaunati, Palepoi; Conversions Va'a 3, Vili 2. Uruguay: Tries Capo, Lemoine; Penalty Aguirre.

SAMOA: T Vili; L Fa'atau, T Fanolua (D Rasmussen, 67), B Lima, S Tagicakibau; E Va'a (D Feaunati, 49), S So'oialo (D Tyrell, 76); K Lealamanu'a (S Lemalu, 51), J Meredith (M Schwalger, 60), J Tomula, O Palepoi, L Lafaiali'l (K Viliamu, 55), P Poulos, M Fa'asavalu, S Sititi (capt; D Tuiavi'i, 74).

URUGUAY: J Menchaca; J Pastore (J Viana, 59), D Aguirre (capt), M Mendaro (J De Freitas, 40), C Baldasarri; B Amarillo, J Campomar; R Sanchez (J Machado, 9-10 & 71), D Lamelas, P Lemoine, J C Bado, J Alzueta (J M Alvarez, 59), M Gutierrez (N Brignoni, 56), N Grille (I Conti, 56), R Capo.

Referee: D McHugh (Ireland).