Welsh passion conquers the Samoans
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Monday 16 October 1995
reports from Swansea
Wales 22 Western Samoa 10
Wales yesterday earned a Halifax Centenary World Cup semi-final meeting with England on an emotionally charged night at a packed Vetch Field.
It was the match it had always promised and threatened to be; the fiercest if far from the fanciest of the tournament. The tally of sin-bins for the whole competition was doubled and there was the World Cup's first serious toe-to-toe fighting.
Wales relished the wild, fiery flavour of it all, facing up to Samoa's war dance and to everything else they threw at them, finishing the sort of convincing winners that would make any side think twice about trying to intimidate them. If they can recapture this mood at Old Trafford on Saturday, there is no saying what they might do.
With Kelvin Skerrett waging war from prop and the rest of the pack following his lead, Wales consistently drove the Samoans back in the early stages. Tia Ropati was sin-binned for preventing a quick play-the-ball and even when Jonathan Davies skewed his penalty wide, it still led indirectly to Wales taking the lead.
Samoa were forced into touch by Wales' tigerish tackling and, from the resulting scrum, the full-back Iestyn Harris came charging into the line, threw one of his perfect sidesteps and slid under the sticks. This time Davies was on the mark, but missed another penalty.
Samoa had far less of the play, but drew level after 19 minutes. Sam Panapa did the damage, dropping off a short pass to send Vila Mataupia thundering over, Schuster adding the goal.
Three minutes later Wales struck again from a scrum. As soon as the ball emerged from the pack Davies was kicking deep down field for Anthony Sullivan on the right wing. Sullivan had too much pace for Bryan Laumatia and scored magnificently, Davies marking his return to his kicking groove with a good conversion.
Two penalties from Schuster, against one from Davies, kept Samoa within four points at half-time, but their discipline let them down badly after the break. Not only did they concede far too many penalties, culminating in Des Maea becoming their second man to spend 10 minutes on the sideline, they also attempted far too many impossible passes, which almost invariably went to ground and allowed Wales to continue to pile on the pressure.
Maea's high tackle on Allan Bateman, after Davies had put over a drop goal, allowed the Welsh captain the penalty to give his side a seven-point margin.
Wales had a scare when Willie Poching went over their line, but Panapa's pass was clearly forward. The match was made safe in the last five minutes, the calm young Harris slotting over a drop goal while the Samoans were looking for Davies.
On the edge of injury-time, Rowland Phillips, hugely effective as a second-half substitute, got a one-handed pass away for Ellis to score.
The Vetch, and even some of the hundreds locked out, was already on its feet and planning the route to Old Trafford.
WALES: Harris (Warrington); Sullivan (St Helens), Bateman (Cronulla), Devereux (Widnes), Hadley (Widnes); Davies (Warrington), Ellis (North Queensland); Skerrett, Hall (both Wigan), Young (Salford), Moriarty (Halifax), Quinnell (Wigan), Eyres (Leeds). Substitutes: Cowie (Wigan) for Skerrett, 53; Phillips (Workington) for Moriarty, 55; Skerrett for Cowie, 64; Cunningham (St Helens) for Hall, 76.
WESTERN SAMOA: P Tuimavave (North Harbour); Schuster (Halifax), Ropati (Auckland), Tuigamala (Wigan), Laumatia (Cronulla); Panapa (Salford), Swann; Sollmona, Poching (all Auckland), Afoa (Penrith), Tatupu (Auckland), Matautia (St Helens), Tuimavave (Auckland). Substitutes: Vagana (Auckland) for Afoa, 35; Perelini (St Helens) for Solomona, 50; Maea (Auckland) for Matautia, 53; Elia (Albi) for Swann, 57.
Referee: R Smith (Castleford).
Photograph, reports, page 26
Latest in Sport
Chelsea players allowed 20 minutes to celebrate, says Jose Mourinho after Capital One Cup victory
Liverpool vs Manchester City match report: Stunners from Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson sink Manuel Pellegrini's side
Arsenal 2 Everton 0 player ratings: Who scored highest at the Emirates?
Ireland 19 England 9 player ratings: Jonathan Sexton? Devin Toner? Alex Goode? Who was the star man in Dublin?
Chelsea vs Tottenham - Capital One Cup final match report: Captain John Terry inspires Blues triumph at Wembley Stadium
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 3 Dakota Johnson's 'It's only Isis' Saturday Night Live sketch sparks controversy
- 4 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how Corporation is funded
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established managed services IT...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...