Samoans rattle Ireland as Fiji climbs to 7th after famous win


Pacific rivals Manu Samoa and the Flying Fijians have shown the world they will be a force to reckon with at the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in less than two weeks in France.

The Samoans lost a tough clash against world number one Ireland 17-13 in Bayonne early Sunday morning, after leading 10-7 at half-time.

And the Flying Fijians have climbed to seventh spot on the world rugby ranking after their first-ever win over England.

They have jumped ahead of England, Australia and Wales, heading into the world meet with their best-ever ranking. Samoa remain in 12th place.

Samoans close to causing a shock

Manu Samoa had their chances to cause a big upset against Ireland in the later stages of the game.

However, the result was enough to satisy head coach Seilala Mapusua as he works on mapping out their World Cup pool matches against Chile, Argentina, Japan and England.

They already have a win over Japan this year, having narrowly beaten the Cherry Blossoms in the Pacific Nations Cup.

Flyhalf Lima Sopoaga, on his Manu Samoa Test debut, was instrumental in the early attacks and scored a penalty and converted Duncan Paia’aua’s try in the 36th minute.

Former All Black Sopoaga scored a second penalty to extend their lead early to 13-7 in the second half.

But the world’s top-ranked side scored through Conor Murray and Rob Herring to claim the close win.

“I can’t fault the effort from our boys but Ireland are the No.1 team for a reason,” Samoa prop Michael Ala’alatoa said after the game.

“They were clinical when they needed to be. There’s a lot to be proud of from our side, but at the same time a lot to learn.”

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