Manu Samoa have fallen to their first loss of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, going down 19-10 to Argentina in Saint Etienne.
Less than perfect conditions made it difficult for either team to churn through the phases or build significant momentum but it was Argentina who were the more disciplined side.
Los Pumas took a 13-3 lead into the break and despite Samoa grabbing a late try, they couldn’t upset the bookmakers.
How did the Manu Samoa players rate in the loss?
1. James Lay – 7
Made three dominant tackles in the early exchanges when Argentina were hot on attack. Held his own at the set-piece. Off in 55th minute.
2. Seilala Lam – 7
Was involved in everything good that Samoa produced. Similar to his propping accomplice, put in a couple of big hits in the opening minutes of the match and eventually departed the game with 14 tackles to his name. Lineout didn’t function at 100 per cent but the conditions certainly didn’t help. Off in 55th minute.
3. Paul Alo-Emile – 7
Regularly challenged the breakdown. Won his set-piece battle with Thomas Gallo, winning one penalty at scrum time. Off in 55th minute.
4. Brian Alainu’uese – 5
Wasn’t able to show off his trademark physicality but notched up 13 tackles. Penalised for swimming around a maul. Off in 55th minute.
5. Chris Vui – 5
Strong at the set-piece but has to take some of the blame for his men constantly creeping up offside and infringing at the maul. Hit plenty of rucks.
6. Theo McFarland – 5
Showed good hands at the height of the lineout – including when backed onto the Samoa line – and while mopping up a few ground balls. Threw a dud inside ball that neither found a teammate nor went backwards, handing over possession. Pinged once at the maul and once for creeping up offside.
7. Fritz Lee – 5
Another big contributor on defence, particularly in the early stages of the match where he hammered Pumas ball carriers back behind the advantage line. Secured a turnover upon Argentina’s second foray into the 22. Crept up offside on one occasion and was also pinged for incorrect entry to the breakdown. Dropped a relatively straightforward pass when Samoa had ignited a counter-attack.
8. Steven Luatua – 6
Useful on defence but wasn’t able to get involved with the ball. Made a big play immediately before halftime, forcing a five-metre scrum for Samoa after a lost lineout in Argentina’s red zone. Off in 59th minute.
9. Jonathan Taumateine – 7
Brimmed with injury on both attack and defence, making 13 tackles altogether. Won his team a crucial turnover just 10 metres out from the try line when defending with 14 men. Dropped the ball when Samoa had a prime scoring opportunity right on halftime. Grabbed some good metres from clearing box kicks. Hustled well to put Argentina under pressure when they’d stripped the ball off Taumateine’s men.
10. Christian Leali’ifano – 4
Couldn’t find his radar from the tee, converting just one penalty from three attempts. Caught out when Argentina advanced from a free kick, not tapping the ball correctly and handing the opposition a scrum inside Samoa’s 22. While the Pumas didn’t score immediately, they did following Leali’ifano’s next clearing kick, which he was forced to make almost from the dead ball line.
11. Ben Lam – 2
Featured just once with the ball in hand in each half. Copped a penalty for a high tackle in the second, handing Los Pumas a five-metre lineout. Not the easiest conditions for expansive rugby but needed to look for work.
12. Tumua Manu – 6
Regularly rushed up to put pressure on the attack but was caught out offside on more than one occasion. Continued his nice midfield kicking form. Won a breakdown penalty but was also pinged himself for getting a bit overzealous at the ruck. Sparked a counter-attack from deep inside Samoan territory, making fools of a couple of defenders, but it ultimately came to nought.
13. Ulupano Seuteni – 5
Made a couple of good runs. Put in a big shot on Emiliano Boffelli when Argentina looked likely. Penalised once at the breakdown for not rolling away quickly enough. Off in 49th minute.
14. Nigel Ah Wong – 4
An excellent ball-chase and tackle resulted in a penalty for Samoa. Otherwise got caught out on defence on a couple of occasions when he rushed out of the line to put in a big hit. Like Lam, struggled to get involved on attack.
15. Duncan Paia’aua – 3
Sent to the bin for a reckless and rather silly challenge on Santiago Carreras in the first minute of the match. Fluffed a clearing kick upon his return, sending the ball directly into touch from outside the 22. Didn’t show enough urgency following a bit of a nothing kick from Gonzalo Bertanou and the more aggressive Argentinians were able to force a penalty at the breakdown after wrapping Paia’aua up. Off in 58th minute.
16. Sama Malolo – 6
On in 54th minute. Carried hard when called upon. Crashed over the line with five minutes to play to keep Samoa in the game.
17. Charlie Faumuina – 4
On in 54th minute. Penalised at his first scrum and looked a bit out of sorts.
18. Michael Alaalatoa – 4
On in 54th minute. Wasn’t able to make any sort of impact off the bench and was a part of a fading scrum.
19. Taleni Seu – 5
On in 54th minute. Made some good headway in the wider channels but needlesly offloaded once into touch.
20. Jordan Taufua
On in 59th minute. Like his fellow pine riders, couldn’t add the impact that coach Seilala Mapusua would have been looking for.
21. Melani Matavao – N/A
22. D’Angelo Leuila – 7
On in 49th minute. A wrecking ball on the run. Fluffed his first kick-off, sending it directly into touch. Otherwise, brought a strong kicking game to the field, peeling off plenty of metres with every strike. Sent a nice grubber into Argentina’s 22 which created a half chance for Samoa. Took over goalkicking duties from Leali’ifano and converted his one attempt. One of a number of players to drop a ball cold.
23. Danny Toala – 5
On in 58th minute. Made a couple of runs into contact and found some fine distance off the boot.2023-09-22T18:18:31Z dg43tfdfdgfd