Fidow fires Samoa to bruising win over Russia at Rugby World Cup - Kogonuso

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Sep 25, 2019

Fidow fires Samoa to bruising win over Russia at Rugby World Cup

Marauding winger Ed Fidow bagged a quickfire double as Samoa beat Russia 34-9 in a bruising Rugby World Cup encounter marked by three yellow cards on Tuesday.

Fidow provided the spark in a tempestuous Pool A clash after the Pacific islanders were reduced to 13 men in the first half for two reckless tackles in steamy Kumagaya. Russia's Kirill Gotovtsev was sin-binned later in the game.
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"To lose two players, go down to 13 men and we didn't lose on the score... really proud of the effort," said Samoa coach Steve Jackson.

"We knew we would come out after half-time and the boys were still fresh -- we had plenty left in the tank. I'm just glad we got over the line."

Russia coach Lyn Jones bemoaned his team's short, four-day turnaround following their 30-10 defeat by hosts Japan in the tournament-opener last Friday.

"We played a World Cup final for our boys on Friday night, it's more the mental thing that's hurt us," said the Welshman.

"We just weren't there tonight and lacked the motivation compared to what we had against Japan."

Samoa, World Cup quarter-finalists in 1991 and 1995, began the game pumped up after a passionate performance of their 'siva tau' war dance.

And they went ahead after 15 minutes when a superb pass from Tim Nanai-Williams -- cousin of All Black star Sonny Bill -- found Alapati Leiua to crash over for the first of his brace.

But veteran Russia fly-half Yury Kushnarev kicked a pair of penalties to give the Bears a 6-5 half-time lead which should have been more after Samoa played almost 10 minutes with 13 men.

Centre Rey Lee-Lo was lucky to escape with a yellow card for a high tackle on Russia captain Vasily Artemyev before hooker Motu Matu'u followed him to the sin bin after another dangerous challenge on Artemyev.

Russia failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage, but Jones refused to criticise French referee Romain Poite.

"We were expecting more severe penalties than what were given," he admitted.

"Of course it would have changed the game. Two red cards in two minutes and the world's a different place."

Refereeing was in the spotlight after World Rugby issued an unusual rebuke earlier on Tuesday about officiating standards at the tournament.

- Samoa firepower -

Samoa fly-half Tusi Pisi became the oldest player to represent Samoa at a World Cup at 37 but had a kicking game to forget, missing four of six attempts with the boot.

However Samoa, playing their first game of the tournament, ultimately had too much firepower for the flagging Russians.

Scrum-half Dwayne Polataivao failed to come out for the second half after taking a blow to the head, but the Samoans hit back when Afaesetiti Amosa bulldozed over five minutes after the restart.

Gotovtsev was yellow-carded for a high tackle trying to block Amosa, who was stretchered off after twisting his knee, much to Jackson's chagrin.

"I thought the right decision was made with two yellow cards for us," he said.

"We lost a player through injury from a similar tackle and he got a yellow card as well."

A Kushnarev drop goal pulled Russia back to within a point before Fidow grabbed Samoa's third try in the 49th minute, bursting through after a clever pass from replacement hooker Ray Niuia.

Fidow extended Samoa's lead shortly afterwards with the bonus-point try as the Russians began to wilt to make it 10 tries in nine appearances for his country.

Lee-Lo made up for his yellow by scoring Samoa's fifth try before Leiua added the icing just before the buzzer to give the score a slightly flattering hue.

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