Samoa A has run over the top of a spirited ACT XV side at Canberra Stadium on Friday to post a 30-24 win in steamy, summer conditions.
The home team were off the pace early as Samoa skipped out to a 19-3 point lead after half an hour but managed to claw back within a converted try by the fulltime siren.
Being the first round of the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup, the ACT XV side now languish near the bottom of the table with a win in Wednesday’s match against Fiji Warriors in Canberra essential to staying in touch with the competition leaders.
Penalties dominated the first half, with a sole try to Samoa’s Meki Magele and its subsequent conversion giving the tourists a comfortable buffer going into half time.
Repeat penalties cruelled the ACT’s chances even further, with Patrick Faapale having a great night with the boot smashing over the rest of his team’s points.
For the ACT side, tries to University of Canberra Brumbies pair Tom Cox and Dylan Sigg showed elements of class, but couldn’t string together the rhythm or consistency needed to claim a win at this level of rugby.
As well as Sigg and Cox, the ACT XV team also boasted Kimiami Sitauti, Jerry Yanuyanutawa and Jono Owen.
ACT XV Coach Nick Leah said it was a disappointing way to start the Pacific Rugby Cup but his side would need to regroup quickly for Wednesday and the Fiji Warriors.
“There were far too many errors there for us to be able to get on top of Samoa today, but full credit to them they were the better team all afternoon,” Leah said.
“We’ve got five days to prepare for the Fijians now. That’s where we need to shift our focus.
“There were some encouraging aspects of the game but certainly plenty for us to work on as a group and individually.”
Samoa A 30 (Patrick Faapale 1 penalty, 1 conversion; Meki Magele 2 tries, Tafaipaia Sila 5 penalties) bt ACT XV 24 (Ben Johnson 1 penalty, 3 conversions; Dylan Sigg, Tom Cox, Rynn Bowden tries).