PM Tips Samoa for Rugby World Cup Upset
Following Samoa’s monumental Rugby Test boilover in defeating Australia on the weekend, the Samoan Prime Minister is enthusiastic that his country’s team has what it takes to go all the way to a 2011 Rugby World Cup win.
In a shock result on Sunday afternoon, Samoa scored their maiden win over the Wallabies with a passion-fuelled 32-23 victory at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said he was “over the moon” with the Test result that gave the Pacific island nation a much needed confidence booster heading towards the World Cup during September – October in New Zealand.
“No one actually thought that Australia world lose,” the PM said.
“I myself knew we would be competitive, as the way we played in the Northern Hemisphere tour showed we can compete.
“But defeating Australia, which is the second ranked team and is twice world champions, shows Samoa can win the World Cup.”
Back in 1991 Samoa hit the headlines when they scored a surprising 16 – 13 win over Wales at that year’s World Cup, which until Sunday’s success was considered the country’s most impressive sporting finish.
One man with a wide grin over the Test win was former Samoa captain now Auckland Blues Super 15 coach Pat Lam.
“It’s massive, right up there,” Lam told Radio New Zealand.
“Australia’s number two in the world currently….(we) had no chance, according to the Aussie media and that’s probably the worst thing you can say to a Samoan.
“They had a real belief and determination and their preparation has been very good.
“The real key is they didn’t just beat them, they out-fought them, out-muscled them and out-played them completely.
“It was a great win.”
Samoa are one of the 20 qualifying teams that will compete in the World Cup and are drawn in Pool D, the apparent “pool of death” along with Namibia, Fiji, South Africa and Wales.
The national Samoan rugby team will play their inaugural World Cup match against Namibia in Rotorua on September 14, and Lam said that they were up against the odds again but had a quarter-finals finish in them.
“South Africa, they’ll be tough, Wales always has an issue with Samoa at World Cup time, and there’s Fiji,” Lam said.
“So it’s certainly a winnable pool, but it’ll be a tough pool.”