Students turn the heat on Samoans

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Rugby Union

Cambridge University 13 Western Samoa 14

It would be fair to say that the Western Samoan tourists froze yesterday. But, in the teeth of the chill wind that cut across the pitch at Grange Road, pretty well everyone suffered in the numbing conditions, except for the hot-blooded students.

They turned in a heart-warming performance to keep the tourists on the back foot for much of the game. There are just two more matches to go before the big one - the Varsity Match against Oxford at Twickenham on 10 December. On yesterday's evidence the Light Blues could prove a handful.

Indeed, the Western Samoans came close to defeat as an enterprising University side took the initiative. By the end the forwards, superbly marshalled by the captain, Rich Bramley, were opting for scrums instead of penalties so dominant and confident were they at the set-pieces.

And they were not even fazed by the presence of Va'aiga Tuigamala, although the Cambridge coach, Tony Rodgers, did admit they were surprised that the Wasps and former All Black had been included in the tourists' line- up.

Yet the game had begun in unpromising fashion with a converted try for the centre To'o Vaega after just 27 seconds. But the threatened procession was halted, temporarily at first, by Bramley's fifth-minute try, and ultimately by some classy and courageous defending.

The tourists did hit back after the students opening score and Tuigamala suddenly broke free to send Mark Fatialofa over for their second try in the 13th minute. But Fa'avaivai Tanoai's second successful conversion was their last score.

Thereafter Cambridge asserted themselves, refusing to be cowed by the physical presence and tackling of the Samoans and fought their way back into the game. After the interval, the full-back, Rhodri Phillips, chipped ahead, his fellow Welshman Morgan Garfield caught the ball and darted over. Rob Ashforth then landed a penalty, having missed both conversions. The Samoans held out, but morally victory was Cambridge's.

Cambridge University: Tries Bramley, Garfield; Penalty Ashforth. Western Samoa: Tries Vaega, Fatialofa; Conversions Tanoai 2.

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY: R Phillips (Homerton); M Garfield (Fitzwilliam), M Singer (Homerton), N Hill (St Edmund's), S Lippiett (Corpus Christi); R Ashforth (Peterhouse), B Ryan (Homerton); G Reynolds (Homerton), T Murphy (St Edmund's), P Godfrey (St John's), R Bramley (capt, St Edmund's), A Craig (Hughes Hall), M Hyde (St Edmund's), R Earnshaw (St. John's), J Cocks (St Edmund's). Replacements: J Edwards (St Catherine's) for Murphy 38-40; J Griffiths (St Edmund's) for Earnshaw 55; M Cox (Hughes Hall) for Godfrey, 57; N Thwaites (Jesus) for Ryan 65.

WESTERN SAMOA: M Leupolu; P Fili, M Fatialofa, T Vaega, V Tuigamala; F Tanoai (T Fanolua, 57) , V Vitale; R Ale (B Reidy, 63), T Leota, A Le'uu (R Ale, 68), P Leavasa, O Palepoi, S Vaili (J Paramore, 57), K Toleafoa, P Lam (capt).

Referee: N Cousins (London).