Mistakes lead to humiliating loss for Wallabies substitutes


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Scruffy and unruly Australia A were beaten 31-26 to the death by Samoa in a thrilling start to the Pacific Nations Cup in Fiji.

Fraser McReight, the heir apparent to Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper, was outstanding for the Wannabies, crossing for two tries and doing a mountain of excellent defensive work, but the defeat ultimately came down to two try concessions completely avoidable in the second half.

Australia A, who have eight players who had been selected for the Test squad, started terribly against a side with eight debutants and were behind within minutes, losing at half-time 19-12.

Although they leveled twice in the second half with three tries including two spectacular efforts from the back, they were defeated by basic errors – first losing control of their ball in their own scrum then seeing Lalakai Foketi deliver an interception try in the final game. .

“The discipline really hurt us in the first half,” said Aus A skipper Ryan Lonergan. “Samoa have been able to capitalize on their territory. Then we kind of built a comeback in the second half, but unfortunately they passed that try in the end.

Australian A vs Samoa in the World Rugby Pacific Nations match. (Photo by Pita Simpson/Getty Images)

“They probably deserved it after our first half. Our speed around the park was quite slow. Maybe it’s the heat that gets to us and that’s something we could sort out.

Jason Gilmore’s Australian team looked like they had been pulled together at the last minute, with a total lack of cohesion. The lineout was a mess as Bill Pollard struggled to find his jumpers, crosses barely saw the ball and there was a lack of structure on both sides of the ball.

Three penalty concedes in the opening minutes gave Samoa an opening and hooker Seilala Lam crossed for an easy opener.

South African referee Jacob Peyper hammered the Australians and lost patience, sending Ryan Smith to the trash moments after Samoa debuting winger Nigel Ah-Wong crossed the first of his two tries.

McReight grabbed his first out of nowhere, pushing the ball across the try line 10 yards out and winning the ball race – he showed a similar fleet of feet in the second half when the Aussies equalized at 19-all then that he broke a Tane Edmed kicks off.

At this point – 16 minutes into the second half – it looked like the Aussies were going to go home on a run, but Samoa went back in front as Jonathan Taumateine ​​scored from an Australian scrum on his clean 22. The ball somehow popped up from the blind side and the blonde mop scrum-half, who had previously played to remove a necklace he had been wearing on the pitch, snatched away for the sweetest of tries .

Australia came back through Lonergan and then James Tuttle finishing long-range beauties, but the final act summed up a game where the Australians were undone at their own hands.

Foketi had the ball in his 22 and with moments on the clock pushed a pass to the wing. Ah-Wong held out a glove and took a merry walk to the try line.

McReight aside, few Australians showed they should have been chosen in the full squad to face England tonight, although Reece Hodge showed his incredible kicking range with some monster clearances.

Edmed looked out of the sport and struggled to get Hamish Stewart into the game while Jock Campbell was far from perfect but had some good times.

The Samoans, as inexperienced as the team was, clearly showed the advantages of a Moana Pasifika team in the SRP competition.




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