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Rugby World Cup 2023 | Match Centre | England 18:17 Samoa

England narrowly triumphed over a resilient Samoa in a grueling Rugby World Cup encounter, securing a perfect record in Pool D. The pivotal moment came in the 73rd minute when Danny Care exploited a scrum to score, clinching an 18-17 victory for England.

Despite the win, England’s title aspirations appeared shaky as they were pushed to their limits by the determined Samoan team, whose sole previous tournament victory had been against Chile. Samoa held a 17-8 lead early in the second half and could have extended it if not for a disallowed try due to a minor infringement.

In a thrilling finish, Samoa had a chance to snatch an upset victory but spilled the ball just meters from the try line. England’s captain, Owen Farrell, also achieved a milestone by surpassing Jonny Wilkinson as the leading Test points scorer for his country.

However, England’s performance raised more concerns than confidence, especially with a quarter-final showdown against Fiji looming. They must address their vulnerability to Samoa’s off-loads, creativity, and commitment, which nearly led to a shocking upset.

Samoa had promised to provide a physical challenge to Manu Tuilagi, an England player with Samoan roots. Instead, Tuilagi was instrumental in England’s attack, making significant gains in the first quarter and setting up Ollie Chessum’s opening try.

Samoa’s “unapologetically Samoan” style of play showcased quick phases and skillful passes, resulting in Nigel Ah Wong’s two tries. Duncan Paia’Aua nearly added another, but a marginal knock-on nullified the score, allowing England to trail by only six points at halftime.

The second half saw Samoa maintaining their momentum, with England struggling to find a breakthrough in their defense. Despite making tactical changes, England couldn’t crack Samoa’s solid performance. In a dramatic turn of events, Care capitalized on a Samoan set-piece lapse to secure England’s win and prevent a historic Samoan victory.

In summary, England survived a stern test from Samoa, narrowly securing victory in a hard-fought Rugby World Cup match.

Match Summary

Pool D |England 18:17 Samoa

England Scores:

TRIES Ollie Chessum (9′), Danny Care (73′)
CONV Owen Farrell (74′)
PENS Owen Farrell (18′, 58′)

Samoa Scores:

TRIES Nigel Ah-Wong (22′, 29′)
CONV Lima Sopoaga (24′, 30′)
PENS Lima Sopoaga (48′)

Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille


Andrew Brace

Man of the Match:

Lima Sopoaga (Samoa)


For everything about the Rugby World Cup 2023 check out our guide here.

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