Fidow fires Samoa to big win over Russia at World Cup

Samoa's wing Ed Fidow breaks through the Russian defense and runs to score a try against Russia. (AFP)
Updated 13 October 2019

Fidow fires Samoa to big win over Russia at World Cup

KUMAGAYA, JAPAN: Marauding winger Ed Fidow bagged a quickfire double as Samoa beat Russia 34-9 in a bruising Rugby World Cup encounter on Tuesday.

Fidow provided the spark in a tempestuous Pool A clash after the Pacific islanders were reduced to 13 men in the first half for two reckless tackles in steamy Kumagaya.

“To lose two players, go down to 13 men and we didn’t lose on the score, (I’m) really proud of the effort,” said Samoa coach Steve Jackson.

“We knew we would come out after halftime and the boys were still fresh. I’m just glad we got over the line.”

Russia coach Lyn Jones bemoaned his team’s short, four-day turnaround after his team lost 30-10 to Japan in the tournament opener on Saturday.

“It’s very disappointing. The performance wasn’t what we expected. However, the short turnaround has affected us tactically and mentally,” said the Welshman.

“I thought we could play the same tactics as Japan but it wasn’t going to be tonight. We needed more time to prepare. It’s not the physical deterioration, it was the mental. We just weren’t there tonight.”

Samoa, World Cup quarterfinalists in 1991 and 1995, began the game pumped up after a passionate performance of their “iva tau” war dance.

And they went ahead after 15 minutes when a superb pass from Tim Nanai-Williams — cousin of All Black star Sonny Bill — found Alapati Leiua to crash over for the first of his brace.

But Russia flyhalf Yury Kushnarev, making a record-extending 111th appearance for the Bears, kicked a pair of penalties to give the Bears a 6-5 halftime lead which should have been more after Samoa played almost 10 minutes with 13 men.

Center Rey Lee-Lo was lucky to escape with a yellow card for a high tackle on Russia captain Vasily Artemyev before hooker Motu Matu’u followed him to the sin bin after another dangerous challenge on Artemyev.

But Russia let Samoa off the hook as they failed to capitalize on their numerical advantage.

Pisi, who at 37 became the oldest player to represent Samoa at a World Cup, had a kicking game to forget, missing four of six attempts with the boot.

However Samoa, playing their first game of the tournament, ultimately had too much firepower for the Russians, who were blowing hard after their short recovery time.

Scrum-half Dwayne Polataivao failed to come out for the second half after taking a blow to the head, but the Samoans hit back though when Afaesetiti Amosa bulldozed over five minutes after the restart.

Russia’s Kirill Gotovtsev was yellow-carded for a high tackle attempting to block Amosa, who was stretchered off after twisting his knee in the process.

A superb drop goal from Kushnarev hauled Russia back to within a point before Fidow grabbed Samoa’s second try in the 49th minute, bursting through after a clever pass from replacement hooker Ray Niuia.

The prolific Fidow extended Samoa’s lead shortly afterwards with the bonus-point try as the Russian began to wilt to make it 10 tries in nine appearances for his country.

Fortunate to still be involved in the game, Lee-Lo made up for his yellow by adding Samoa’s fifth try as the floodgates threatened to open.

Leiua added the icing on the cake just before the buzzer to give the score a slightly flattering hue.

Samoa move on face Scotland in their next game while Russia, still searching for their first-ever World Cup win, take on Ireland.


Dortmund, Favre face tough questions after Bayern’s ‘big step’

Updated 29 May 2020

Dortmund, Favre face tough questions after Bayern’s ‘big step’

  • Several German newspapers have suggested Favre is set to leave at the end of the season

BERLIN: Borussia Dortmund visit bottom side Paderborn on Sunday with uncertainty surrounding the future of coach Lucien Favre after Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat by Bayern Munich left their Bundesliga title dreams in tatters.

Favre and Dortmund were forced to deny rumors that he is set to resign, and face Paderborn attempting to at least keep some pressure on reigning champions Bayern, who sit seven points clear with six matches remaining.

Second-placed Dortmund may also have to make do without Erling Braut Haaland, after the teenage sensation was injured against Bayern, reportedly in an accidental collision with the referee.

Swiss Favre was forced to clarify comments made on Tuesday when he said he would “talk about it (his future) in a few weeks,” saying the following day that he was not “giving up at all.”

Several German newspapers have suggested Favre is set to leave at the end of the season, with Niko Kovac, who was sacked by Bayern last year, reported to be his likely successor.

“We are certainly not having a coaching debate,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc insisted to Sport1.

“Lucien must have expressed himself misleadingly in a moment immediately after the game.”

Barring an unlikely late-season collapse from Bayern, it will be the second straight season that Favre’s Dortmund have pushed their rivals close in the title race before ultimately coming up short.

Dortmund led for much of the campaign last term but stumbled late to finish two points off the pace.

“We said before the season that we wanted to play for the title again,” added Zorc.

“We didn’t manage to be better than Bayern. Now we can be disappointed, take a deep breath, and then set a new goal for Sunday. Full focus is on second place.”

Dortmund will be confident of getting back on track against a Paderborn side who are rooted to the foot of the table, eight points adrift of the relegation playoff spot, despite three consecutive draws since the Bundesliga resumed following the coronavirus lockdown.

“We mustn’t talk of a miracle because there are still 18 points to be won,” said Paderborn coach Steffen Baumgart.

“As long as it’s still mathematically possible we have to give it everything we’ve got.”

Bayern are now firmly on track for a record-extending eighth straight title and on Saturday host a Fortuna Duesseldorf side who boosted their survival hopes with a 2-1 midweek win against freefalling Schalke.

“We set out to take a big step (against Dortmund). We succeeded. We showed a lot of determination,” said Bayern coach Hansi Flick.

Duesseldorf, who occupy the relegation playoff spot, are five points clear of second-bottom Werder Bremen, although the four-time Bundesliga champions have a game in hand.

Bremen, who have only spent one season out of the top flight since the Bundesliga’s formation in 1963, visit Schalke on Saturday.

Schalke coach David Wagner is under pressure after his side threw away their European hopes with a 10-match winless run, including three straight defeats since the restart of the season.

Dortmund will need Jadon Sancho to be back at his best on Sunday, with Haaland’s injury leaving them without a recognized out-and-out striker.

English winger Sancho is yet to start a game since the restart after his own fitness problems, but has featured as a subsitute in all three matches.

The 20-year-old has scored 17 goals in all competitions this season.