And here’s our report.
Thanks everyone for joining me. Not the best, was it? But Argentina have their win. Samoa not clinical enough.
Will catch you soon.
Here’s Michael Cheika, Argentina’s coach:
I think we got off the mark, we got off the bus and we turned up for the game. We lacked a bit of that clinical edge in the scoring zone. But Samoa put us under pressure. There are things we can do a lot better. But much improved from the first game. Still lots to do.
We had a game against South Africa in Argentina and we didn’t do what we needed to do. We had a game in Marseille and we had them in numbers. We want them to know how much we love them. It’s great they’re here and I know they’ll be here next week for Chile. We love our supporters. They’re awesome.
Julian Montoya is up next. The Argentina captain was immaculate at the line-out. His accuracy is largely why they won. Here’s what he has to say:
I want to start by thanking all the people from Argentina who are here today. The support they gave us was really, really loud. And it was amazing. We play for them.
A massive victory for us, for this tournament. Against England we didn’t do what we needed to do. We did today. Still lots to improve which is exciting at the same time.
Credit to Samoa. A really good team, filled with good players and names.
We have to improve in every aspect of the game. Discipline is one. Not just in terms of penalties but in everything we need to do. The ruck was a bit messy. But I’m very proud of this team.
Now for Samoa’s skipper, Chris Vui:
I’m extremely proud of the boys. The better team won today. Credit to them, they were more clinical,. especially when they had the ball. So credit to them.
Momentum was swinging our way in the last 10 minutes. We thought we could come back. We’ve got some learnings in this six to eight day turnaround against Japan.
“Mission accomplished,” says Joel Stransky on the world feed.
Pretty much. It’s hardly a performance that will fill Pumas fans with loads of confidence. But they have a win at least.
Here’s the player of the match, and frankly the only man in the running for it, Emiliano Boffelli:
It was very important. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Samoa is a very strong team. It was a very important win today.
It was a tough game. The points [he scored] were important.
Thanks a lot to everyone, to the supporters. It was incredible. He found that support.
Full-time: Argentina 19-10 Samoa
Yup. That’s that. A huge result for Argentina, it has to be said. They’ve revived their their World Cup campaign after that performance against England. It wasn’t pretty but it’s a job done.
Samoa scored a try but largely failed to fire a shot. Still, a win against Japan and a lucky break elsewhere might see them squeeze through to the next round.
But will they regret coughing up a losing bonus point.
Hate to say it, but time will tell.
80 mins: Argentina win the scrum, play down the line and dink a little kick over the top. That’s the final whistle. Wait, is it?
Penalty! Argentina 19-10 Samoa (Sanchez, 79)
And that will be that. A classy kick under pressure from some distance to the right. Game over.
78 mins: Samoa give away a penalty. What a shame. They attacked with zeal, kicked long but when Argentina countered they couldn’t keep their composure. Sanchez will kick at goal to make the game safe.
77 mins: Ben Lam plucks the restart from the air. Great take. They kick. Why did they kick? It’s just handed possession back to Argentina. Carreras then Sanchez carry and try wriggle through. It goes to the forwards and Creevy knocks on. Scrum for Samoa. They’re inside their own 22 so will have to launch a ballistic missile to make this work.
TRY! Argentina 16-10 Samoa (Malolo, 75)
They’re over! They kept knocking at the door and finally they get through. A tap and go from the penalty kept it short and carrier after carrier piled in. Eventually it’s the replacement hooker who runs a lovely line against the grain from short distance is powers over. A quick conversion makes things interesting.
74 mins: Monster scrum. Penalty advantage for Samoa. There’s a massive carry from first phase by the replacement D’Angelo Leuila. He’s bravely stopped. They can’t get anywhere so they come back for the penalty where the scrum was set.
73 mins: Samoa attack from the scrum but it’s lateral. It looks nice it doesn’t go anywhere. What’s happened there, though? Samoa spill the ball but the pass back for Argentina is disrupted by Taumateine. it’s messy at the back. Boffelli – I think – had to dive back and secure the ball, almost on his own try line. He’s tackled back and has no choice but to dot down. So Samoa have the feed five metres out. They just HAVE to score now.
71 mins: Argentina rock solid at the scrum. Sanchez, on the park, hacks a low kick up field from half-way. That’s all they’re try and do now. A try bonus point is beyond them. Now it’s just about keeping Samoa at arm’s length. A bit of kick tennis ends with Samoa have a scrum thanks to a forward pass. Just inside Argentina’s territory.
70 mins: Argentina give away a penalty at the line-out. That’s their first infringement at the set-piece. So Samoa clear deep. They’re back in Argentina’s half and have the ball from a line-out of their own. But yet again they spill it. That’s been their story all afternoon. Leuila couldn’t hold on to a high pass.
68 min: A sensational kick from Moroni lands the ball from his own half right into the corner of Samoa’s territory. It’s not a 50-22 as it was taken back, but that has pinned Samoa right bacl where they don’t want to be.
66 mins: Oh man…. Samoa wriggle some space down the left. An off-load, a straightening of the line and another off-load but they spill it forward.
65 mins: Samoa win the ball! Whatever else has happened this game, they’ve been brilliant on the ground. A huge hit and then a steal from Manu on their right tram. They probably won’t win this game but they’ve given a good account of themselves.
62 mins: My goodness this is becoming a tough watch. Argentina hack a kick ahead off their scrum. It bounces off a Samoan leg and goes out for another line-out. Cubelli lifts a high kick. Boffelli wins it. He’s been head and shoulders above everyone else. Argentina down the left. They go back right. It’s with Boffelli who steps off his right foot back infield. Into the 22. Building nicely…
61 mins: It’s been all Samoa but they play a lazy forward pass. It just hasn’t quite clicked for them today. Still plenty of time.
60 mins: Samoa with a line-out on the 22. They have to make something work. It goes to the middle and they maul. It then goes down the line and a wonderful grubber ahead looks good. Boffelli slides across and makes a wonderful recovery clean. Argentina scure the ball and S Carreras clears. Excellent from Boffelli. He’s been class all day.
58 mins: Argentina win another line-out. That set piece has been supreme. A poor box kick from Argentina’s replacement 9 Cubelli means the ball goes nowehere. Samoa swarm and win a penalty. Boffelli is once again the victim of a huge knock. It’s getting really scrappy now. Argentina won’t necessarily mind that.
57 mins: Boffelli finally misses. In his defence it was from miles away. It started outside the right upright and drifted past the left. Had the legs though.
56 mins: Now a penalty. Argentina’s scrum is humming at full throttle. Boffelli is lining up a 50m shot.
55 mins: A raft of changes for both sides. Argentina will have a scrum on halfway after Samoa punted the restart straight out.
Penalty! Argentina 16-3 Samoa (Boffelli, 54)
No problems for this man. He just don’t miss. Not from there. Argentina taking control now.
53 mins: Argentina can’t make this move stick. But they have a penalty advantage. Rather than set up another maul they point to the poles.
50 mins: Samoa will have a line-out but Argentina have a scrum feed soon after. It spins round and a slick back line move but OOOH! Another big hut in midfield. Argentina still have it though and Matera plays a dink ahead anbd then wins a penalty.
49 mins: Samoa win the ball back! Argentina don’t maul. Instead they play a loop round the back. Boffelli has the ball but ot’s a double move before he tries to place it. So Samoa win a penalty. They deserve that. Fantastic defence. Seuteni put in a monster hit on Boffelli to keep him out of reach of the line.
48 min: It’s a solid scrum. Bertranou is told to use it. Boffelli on the angle is clattered. What a shot that was. Kremer charges from close range. There’s a penalty. What for? Oh, it was a high shot on Boffelli. I thought that looked like a crunching hit. No card I’d imagine for Ben Lam. Argentina have the penalty and select to set up another line-out. Their attack is starting to click.
46 mins: Five metres out and Montoya finds the jumper in the middle of the line-out. Samoa defend the maul superbly well. Argentina are told to use it. It splinters and then there’s a pick and go. Samoa keep them at bay. Perhaps they should have had the ball but it’ll be an Argentine scrum five out.
45 mins: Argentina win their line-out. Their maul is now working perfectly and it rumbles forward and wins a penalty. They’re in the 22. Bertranou fumbles after Boffelli carries well. They go back for the penalty. In fact Montoya has an option. He has two penalties and can choose where to take it. He selects the one down the right near the touchline. So Carreras dinks it out. Another maul coming up you’d think.
44 mins: Manu stabs through a grubber. Samoa win it on the ground but that is outstanding work from Matera who ripped it away on the ground. Penalty on the ground and S Carreras puts it out on the 10m line.
43 mins: Taumateine’s box finds M Carreras. He spins it down the line. Boffelli charges to the line but knocks on in the tackle.
42 mins: A bit of kick tennis ends with Argentina having a line-out. They maul. And keep going with the maul. Bertranou has it but the backline move fizzles out. Samoa win it back inside their own 22 thanks to a handling error.
Right then. We’re back. It’s stopped raining. The ground will still be wet so it’ll still be greasy. Do or die for Argentina. A big 40 minutes coming up. If Samoa can turn it around they’ll have a real shot of qualifying for the knockouts for the first time since ‘95.
Spare a thought for Johan Deysel. The Namibian captain might have ended Antoine Dupont’s World Cup. He’s received so much hate on his socials that he’s turned all his accounts to private.
He didn’t mean to do it. Here’s what he had to say:
That’s one way of putting it:
“With all these knock-ons causing endless stop start scrummaging, I’d love to see simple passing and handling knock-ons to be a free kick, not a scrum. Quick restarts, run kick or pass, play, play, play, go, go, go.”
I’m guessing you’re not South African, Hugh Molloy?
It’s an interesting idea. But I like the scrum. Of course, I don’t want too many. But there is beauty in its beastliness. What you're describing sounds more like league.
Half-time: Argentina 13-3 Samoa
Argentina’s maul from the line-out splutters out of touch and that’ll be the last action of a spluttering half. It started with a yellow card and saw one decent move end with Boffelli scoring a try on the right. He’s got all 13 points in an otherwise stop-start affair in the rain. Back in a few.
40 mins: Samoa wheel the scrum and that encourages Taumateine to snipe down the blindside but he’s hit by Kremer before he can pass. Should have got that away, mind. Argentina counter, get all the way to the half-way, win a penalty and then hoof it up field.
40 mins: The scrum goes down. Looked like Samoa had the ascendency so I’m surprised not to see them get a penalty. Instead they’ll have the feed againn. There’s a bit of afters with Kremer getting involved. They pack down again.
39 mins: Argentina pinch the line-out. Great steal. But Bertranou at the back is tackled back over his own try-line. Scrum for Samoa five metres out. They keep getting chances. They have to take one.
39 mins: Ah Wong clatters S Carreras as he landed after catching a high ball. Bone-cruncher. Argentina give away a penalty on the ground and this time Leali’ifano kicks it out for a line-out five metres out. Last chance to deliver a blow before the break.
38 min: Oh no! Leali’ifano has hooked it. That’s six points he’s left out there.
37 min: Hawuuuge scrum from Samoa! Wow, didn’t expect that. It was the second shove that sent the Pumas back retreating. Vui points to the poles after winning the penalty. Sensible decision. Well, only if Leali’ifano slots it.
36 mins: Argentina fumble the restart so Samoa have a scrum. Now’s the time to strike.
Penalty! Argentina 13-3 Samoa (Boffelli, 35)
That’s a gimme for a sharp-shooter like Boffelli. Right in front. Their 10 point lead is restored.
34 mins: Argentina take the line-out quickly and catch Samoa cold. Mallia into the 22. Now they’re five out. Advantage as well for off-side. Nothing doin’. They have the penalty. Surely they’ll take the three.
33 mins: Argentina have wormed their way across the field. They can’t quite breach the Samoan defence but they’re into the 22. 12 phases later and they lose it forward in contact. Leali’ifano hacks it clear.
31 mins: Oh, almost another steal for Samoa. Argentina’s attack breaks down after the ball bounces off a Samoan’s head. That gave Lee the chance to get in and pinch the ball for the third time but he just lost his feet. S Carreras boots it out. Line-out for Argentina on the 22.
30 mins: Argentina spill the ball in contact. Samoa counter down the left. McFarland charges through a half gap but is stopped. Samoa kick. Then Argentina. Leali’ifano takes a mark and punts it down to halfway. A scrappy game. The conditions aren’t helping.
Penalty! Argentina 10-3 Samoa (Leali’ifano, 28)
He curls it round from right to left, it dips and clips the crossbar. It bounces and just about gets over. They all count.
27 mins: Carreras – one of them at least, I didn’t catch which – does really well to gather near the touchline and find some distance with a clearing kick. Samoa have the line-out and McFarland brings it down under pressure. In fact Argentina jumped across the line so it’ll be another penalty for Samoa. It’s in range for Leali’ifano so he’ll set it up and take aim on the angle to the right.
Penalty! Argentina 10-0 Samoa (Boffelli, 24)
That’s a superb kick. He made it look so east from distance and he’s nudged his side to double digits.
23 mins: Another line-out win for Argentina. Given the conditions they’ve been very impressive at that set-piece. They set a maul. Someone in the Samoan pack gets himself in an awkward position and is penalised. Boffelli is going to line up a 45m shot at goal.
21 mins: Argentina have been secure at the line-out. They then stitch together a lovely move down the backline. It ends with a kick ahead – not sure why – which they can’t win back. So Samoa counter. It’s looking good down the left tram. Argentina transgress again on the turf so it’s a penalty to Samoa. Leali’ifano punts it down field. Line-out for the men in blue around the 10m line.
19 mins: Argentina have it back around halfway. Bertranou hoists a high box kick. That’s the right strategy in these conditions. But he’s too long and it’s an easy mark at the back. Samoa hoof it back to the halfway line.
17 mins: Paia’aua shanks a kick straight out from just outside his 22. Argentina with a chance to attack from the line-out. They go to the back – that’s a great throw from Montoya – and the Pumas maul. It’s out the back and down the line. Montoya with a firm carry. But once more Samoa get hands on it and steak it. Lee with the plaudits. That’s his second in five minutes.
15 mins: He hooks it. Samoa still on a duck’s egg. It’s really bucketing down now.
15 mins: Neither team can keep hold of the ball. It’s greasy and wet out there. Samoa turn Argentina and attack down the left. There’s a huge hit from Boffelli on Leali’ifano. Wow. He read that superbly well and flattened the Samoan 10. But Argentina are a little over zealous at the breakdown and cough up a penalty. Leali’ifano will have a shot at goal.
13 mins: Vui wins the line-out. The maul sets, moves a fraction and then splinter with Lam out the back. The build patiently. Lay rumbles on from short range. Lee has it but he’s isolated. Matera turns him. Argentina try to run it back from their own in-goal area! What are they doing? Sanity prevails and they kick.
12 mins: Good news for Samoa. Paia’aua’s yellow won’t get upgraded to a red. S Carreras makes a mess of his clearance kick so Samoa, back to a full quota now, will have the feed to a line-out inside Argentina’s 22.
TRY! Argentina 7-0 Samoa (Bofelli, 9)
Bofelli stretches and gets it down! He stepped off his right foot and found a half gap near the line. He stumbles but has enough momentum to stretch out and score. That was some nifty hands down the line before that. M Carreras had the ball on the opposite wing in the same move. Top work from Argentina. Bofelli gets up and squeezes a flat kick inside the left upright.
8 mins: Samoa can’t retain their own scrum. It eventually ends with Argentina having a scrum of their own. It’s a great base to attack but they can’t do anything with it. A let off.
5 min: Argentina are right back at Samoa but Moroni can’t find Mallia with a flick out the back. Will be a scrum for Samoa in their own 22.
3 mins: Argentina hoof it up from the penalty. Nice continuity down the line. Left then right. They’re in the 22. Inching forward with Bello carrying. Carreras has a dart himself but he’s turned over. Great defence from Samoa. It was their half-back Taumateine who stole it. Leali’ifano clears with a raking kick.
Yellow card! Samoa (Paiai'aua, 1)
Yup. No complaints. he took Carreras out in the air. Yellow card with a bunker review.
A Samoan player has taken out Carreras in the air. He’s going to be in trouble. Yellow with a chance of red.
1st min: We might have a card within the first 60 seconds.
Anthems are done. The Samoan war dance is complete. Away we go!
Here’s a different take on the schedule issues:
“Sorry about NotWillYoung’s time difficulties. But that’s the magic of the Cup, ain’t it ? Getting up at 4.00am to watch/hear your heroes getting a sound beating and wishing you’d stayed in bed ? (see Phil de Freitas, opening ball, Ashes 1994). As it goes, 17.45hrs is the time all self-respecting Frenchies have finished work in time for the ‘apero’, early evening piss-up. It’s the French nature and national character all-over, this is not your World Cup, this is THEIR World Cup.”
That’s from Jeremy Boyce. And all those points raised are solid as well. I totally hear the argument that this is France’s WC, not anyone else’s.
And Argentina and Samoa are literally on opposite ends of the world. There was always going to be an issue.
Cheers Jezza. Appreciate the balanced take.
Argentina may sit at the top table of world rugby as a member of the Rugby Championship, but it’s Samoa who have the better record in this tie.
Samoa have won three of their four previous meetings with Los Pumas. The first was at Sardis Road in Cardiff in 1991. They then met four years later at the 1995 World Cup with Samoa – then Western Samoa – edging a thriller to advance to the quarterfinals.
Argentina got their revenge in 1999 with a comfortable win but Samoa underlined their supremacy in the rivalry with a 28-12 win in 2005.
That was the last time they played against each other. Maybe a cracking contest will compel these disparate nations to meet more often. I doubt it. But it’s a nice thought, isn’t it?
Luke McLaughlin has picked out a few themes to look out for this weekend.
Skip past the stuff about Chile and England (that’s for another day) and take a look and what he has to say about a certain Theodore McFarland.
This is an excellent point. I don’t think anyone needs a literal, physical slap. Perhaps a strong word and a finger wag in their direction.
Do you like a quiz? Who doesn’t?
We’ve got a bit of time to kill so why not take a stab at this:
The Samoans have had a much shorter turnaround than Argentina, having played less than seven days ago. Still, they too have opted for three changes to their side.
Paul Alo-Emile comes into the front-row, Brian Alainu’u’ese into the second-row, and Ben Lam, nephew to Bristol Bears coach, Pat, and cousin of the starting front-rower, Seilala, starts on the wing.
Samoa: Paia’aua; B Lam, Seuteni, Manu, Ah Wong; Leali’ifano, Taumateine; Lay, S Lam, Alo-Emile, Vui (cap), Alainu’u’se, McFarland, Lee, Luatua.
Replacements: Malolo, Faumuina, Aalaalatoa, Seu, Taufua, Matavao, D’Angelo Leuila, Toala.
Three changes for Argentina
It’s been 13 days since their embarrassing defeat to England (not because of the opposition. It was the performance that was a let down). Michael Cheika reckons three new faces will make a difference today.
Eduardo Bello comes into the front row, Guido Petti Pagadizabal into the second-row and Matías Moroni into the midfield.
Argetnita: Mallia; Boffelli, Moroni, Chocobares, M Carreras; Bertranou, S Carreras; Gallao, Montoya (cap), Bello, Petti, Alemanno, Matera, Kremer, Gonzalez.
Replacements: Creevy, Vivas, Gomez Kodela, Rubiolo, Bruni, Cubelli, Sanchez, Cinti
When this match was scheduled way back when, it looked like one of those duds. You know, a game that would huff and puff but ultimately end in a predictable result. Argentina, a so-called tier-1 nation and a Rugby Championship regular, would steamroll their Samoan counterparts. The islanders would run around and chuck a bunch of off-loads but would inevitably fail bravely.
Now, I’m not so sure. Samoa were excellent against Chile. Yes, Chile, a World Cup debutant and a team at the very start of their development. But Samoa put them away with great cohesion and a dynamic pack led by Saracen’s own Theo McFarland.
A week earlier, Argentina served up absolute dross against England. I had the misfortune of being there in Marseille and I can safely say that in all my years of watching elite level rugby I’d struggle to recall a more inept performance than the one offered by the Pumas.
They have to find a higher gear. Scratch that. They have to find the ignition today. If they don’t, they may find themselves dumped out of the weakest pool in the tournament. Japan looked good against England so a victory over the Brave Blossoms is no guarantee.
Nor are they assured of a victory today. They know it. Samoa know it. I can’t wait.
A dud? Don’t count on it.
My name is Dan. You know the drill. Drop me a tweet or email.
Teams and further updates to come.
Match kicks off at 5:45 local time in Saint-Etienne/4:45 BST.