The best part of 22,000 Western Australians, a handful of Samoans and approximately three Georgians paid their money at the Subiaco Oval yesterday, and most could not have cared less what happened.
This was a beer match, without the match. Georgia's brave, if spectacularly futile, rearguard action against England had left them in a state of advanced exhaustion, and while they fronted up with passion after half-time, a wonderful solo try by Semo Sititi guaranteed the islanders a bonus point and top-dog status in Pool C.
It is unlikely the Samoans will stay there for long; their match with England in Melbourne on Sunday has a whiff of the 40-pointer about it, with Sititi and company on the receiving end.
In common with their South Seas brethren, Samoa are three-quarters of the way to being a world-class outfit. But the last 25 per cent will remain out of reach until some genius with a fresh take on sporting economics discovers a way of professionalising the islands.
The Georgians fell off almost 50 tackles, and once the Samoans found some rhythm - much of it generated by the gifted Sititi and the two half-backs, Steven So'oialo and Earl Va'a - it was a question of how many, how quickly. That the points did not come in a blue-shirted wave said more about Samoa's lack of precision than Georgia's manning of the barricades.
Eleven points up at the interval, through tries by Sailosi Tagicakibau and Va'a, Samoa continued to fall flat for another 20 minutes. The only real damage to the Georgians came when Tagicakibau wreaked such havoc down the right that Zurab Mtchedlishvili and Ilia Zedguinidze cracked heads and laid each other out. As Zedguinidze had only recently recovered from breaking a bone in his skull against Italy, this was not remotely funny.
More palatable was Sititi's long run from his own 10-metre line at the start of the final quarter - flat across field, then sharply diagonal, then curving in a perfect arc towards the left corner. That try, followed by another fine solo effort by Dominic Feaunati, received the full attention of the crowd. A good way to run down the curtain on Perth's World Cup? Definitely.
Georgia: Penalties Jimsheladze 2; Drop-goal Jimsheladze. Samoa: Tries Tagicakibau, Va'a, So'oialo, Sititi, Feaunati, Lima; Conversions Va'a 5; Penalties Va'a 2.
GEORGIA: B Khekhelashvili (Cognac); M Urjukashvili (unattached), T Zibzibadze (unattached), I Giorgadze (University), V Katsadze (Agde); P Jimsheladze (unattached), I Abuseridze (Aurillac); G Shvelidze (Béziers), A Giorgadze (Rovigo), S Nikolaenko (Montpellier), Z Mtchedlishvili (Stade Domontoise), V Nadiradze (Béziers), G Labadze (Toulon), G Yachvili (Bordeaux-Begles), I Zedguinidze (Rovigo, capt) Replacements: M Kvirikashvili (Lelo) for Abuseridze, 37; B Khamashuridze (Auch) for Khekhelashvili, h-t; V Didebulidze (Valence d'Agen) for Nadiradze, 59; D Bolgashvili (University) for Labadze, 65; A Margvelashvili (Oyonax) for Nikolaenko, 70.
SAMOA: T Vili (Borders); R Fanuatanu (Marist St Joseph's), T Fanolua (Gloucester), B Lima (Secom), S Tagicakibau (Counties Manakau); E Va'a (Oriental-Rongotai), S So'oialo (Orrell); K Lealamanu'a (Wellington), J Meredith (Ponsonby), J Tomuli (Colomiers), O Palepoi (Exeter), L Lafaiali'i (Sanyo), P Poulos (Waitakere), M Fa'asavalu (Marist St Joseph's), S Sititi (Borders, capt) Replacements: D Feaunati (Wellington) for Fanuatanu, 11; D Rasmussen (Ponsonby) for Fanolua, 54; S Vaili (Ponsonby) for Fa'asavalu, 54; K Viliamu (Papakura) for Palepoi, 65; S Lemalu (Otahuhu) for Lealamanu'a, 70; D Tyrell (Inglewood) for So'oialo, 76; M Schwalger (Taradale) for Meredith, 81.
Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).Reuse content