Top games: Wales v Samoa

Wales v Samoa, Pool match, 1991

Wales had ominously said in their press conference before the game that this was the most important game in their history. Given Samoa had never played in a World Cup before, and they had little more than 2000 players practicing the sport in the islands, the Welsh were expected to win easily.

But the Samoans had a surprise for them, as the home side grossly underestimated them and believed they would be strong enough, especially as the game was played at their home ground of Cardiff Arms Park.

The physical approach of the Samoans rattled the Welsh badly, and while some of them were suspectly high, they weren’t penalized. While Wales had most of the play in the first half, the scoreline of 3-3 at halftime gave the Samoans some hope.

The Samoans scored early in the second half, but the try was contested by the Welsh. Centre To'o Vaega kicked the ball ahead and raced Welsh scrumhalf Robert Jones to the line. While the Welsh claim that Jones got to the ball first, referee Patrick Robin awarded the try to Vaega.

There was no qualms about the second try, which came after prolonged attack and Sila Vaifale took the score to 13-3.

Arthur Emyr Jones scored for Wales shortly afterwards, before Vaea kicked the penalty to keep the Samoans in the lead by 16-9. While Wales were never going to win, captain Ieuan Evans scored in injury time to bring the scores closer as the home side’s psyche was dented and one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history was recorded.