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.


Fernando Alonso ramps up Dakar Rally preparations with podium finish at AlUla-Neom cross-country rally

Updated 34 min 9 sec ago

Fernando Alonso ramps up Dakar Rally preparations with podium finish at AlUla-Neom cross-country rally

  • The result comes at perfect timing less than two months before two-time Formula 1 world champion tackles Dakar
  • Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi took first place

JEDDAH: Fernando Alonso continued his preparations for his Dakar Rally debut in Saudi Arabia by taking third place in AlUla-Neom Cross-Country Rally and secure his inaugural rally podium finish in the process this week.
The result comes at perfect timing less than two months before two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso takes the wheel for Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020, the Middle East’s first-ever edition of Dakar Rally, which is hosted by the kingdom from 5 to 17 January.
“It was an ideal preparation for Dakar as we discovered new terrain that we will come across again at Dakar,” Alonso said.
“It is a great feeling to finish third and get the first rally podium in my life. The fact that it happened here in Saudi Arabia at this time gives us a lot of confidence going into Dakar,” Alonso added.
Starting in AlUla and extending over 765km before the finale in Neom, AlUla-Neom Cross-Country Rally was contested across four stages over five days, and the former Formula 1 champion said it was an “excellent training” for him on a similar terrain and in close weather conditions to what would be expected at Dakar.
Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi took first place at Al Ula-Neom Cross-Country Rally, while compatriot Yasir Seaidan finished second, with Alonso rounding off the podium places.
Alonso, who made his desert rally debut in Morocco last month, was co-driven by five-time Dakar bike winner Marc Coma, and the Spanish duo will be together again at Dakar Saudi Arabia as part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing team.
The 2005 and 2006 Formula 1 champion got his campaign at Al Ula-Neom Cross-Country Rally underway to a good start on Day 1 before taking the pace up a notch on the second and third days to set his team up for a podium finish on the last day. “We continue with our plan and preparations, step by step and adapting as fast as we can,” Alonso said of his plans ahead of Dakar.
Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will consist of 12 stages, allowing pilots coming from across six continents to discover Saudi Arabia’s rich past, live its modernized present, and meet its future as they race through the Kingdom.
The pilots will kick off Rally Dakar from Jeddah, the bride of the Red Sea, through to Neom, a fully sustainable city of the future, then pass by the historical sites of Riyadh to face the Empty Quarter, a huge desert of unbroken sand, to end in Qiddiya, a future entertainment, sports and cultural destination.
A criminal investigation was been launched after an armed man intercepted a vehicle taking part in the rally.