Wales 19-26 Samoa: Welsh Player Ratings

Ryan Jones

15. Leigh Halfpenny – 7
He may have slipped for Johnny Leota’s match-clinching score, but Halfpenny seems unaffected by Wales’ slump. Once more, the diminutive full-back managed to look assured, sparky and unerring from the tee. Took an immense clattering from George Pisi early in the second period but remained with his colleagues. One hell of a fighter.

14. Alex Cuthbert – 4½
Over the past year, Cuthbert has shown enough class to be considered something close to a world-class winger. Though his defence stood up adequately to waves intimidating runners, the Cardiff Blue has earned the right to be judged on pernickety details – a weak ruck clear-out prior to Samoa’s second try, for instance. Nobody looked more distraught at the final whistle.

13. Ashley Beck – 5
Flashes of brilliance on his first Millennium Stadium start confirmed Beck’s potential. An interception try was superbly anticipated and one pick-pocket tackle got the crowd excited. Too lateral in attack, but that should be put right this week.

12. Jamie Roberts – 5½
The struggles of those in front of him means that Roberts simply cannot be the focal ball-carrier as he was at the World Cup a year ago. However, some tenacious defence last night was evidence of his continued value at international level. Time and again, opposite number Paul Williams was man-handled.

11. George North – 4
Sadly, North’s futile contributions over the last week have summed up his country’s distinct lack of inspiration. Past schoolboy level, shovelling the ball to your biggest, quickest runner does not work without the semblance of a platform. Someone needs to tell Rob Howley that.

10. Dan Biggar – 5
Unfortunate to be scythed in half by the hulking Filo Paulo, because he was growing into the game. One glaring miss of touch and might have liked to seize better field position, but ball was always scrappy.

9. Mike Phillips – 5½
This was a rare piece of encouraging news for the hosts – it appears that their best scrum half is hungry again. From spiky snipes off the back of line-outs to berating referees (perhaps even in French), Phillips looked on the road back to his best. Nine tackles without a miss proved his abrasiveness.

1. Paul James – 4½
Not too bad. Made a big defensive gaffe to allow Taiasina Tui’fua an inviting gap in the opening moments, but recovered to shore up the scrum thereafter, even against humongous Census Johnston. It got very messy when he was withdrawn on the hour.

2. Richard Hibbard – N/A
Only lasted 17 minutes after being smashed by Tui’fua and seeing his shoulder give way in another monstrous hit.

3. Aaron Jarvis – 4
Fell off Tui’fua to set the tone for Wales’ tentativeness up front and was part of a scrum that splintered in the final quarter, although he was not helped by Gethin Jenkins’ non-attendance. Adam Jones is worth his weight in gold.

4. Bradley Davies – 3
Davies’ selection was heartening. When in the mood, his directness propels Wales and aids structure. On Friday night, he became a bit of a liability, committing needless ruck offences, failing to stabilise the set-piece and neglecting his normal physicality. There was even a dodgy pass in midfield. Frustrating.

5. Ian Evans – 4
Another to succumb to injury, Evans is far below his marauding best. Withered in the fierce face of Daniel Leo and could not solve the line-out inconsistencies.

6. Ryan Jones (captain) – 4
Received a standing ovation upon being replaced, which felt curious. Granted, Jones led his nation for a record 29th time, but he had endured a bad night. Industrious as always, his carries were utterly ineffective – six of them made eight metres – and over-exuberance saw the 31 year-old pinged five times.

7. Justin Tipuric – 5
The lightest forward on the field looked exactly that, and only became a force at the breakdown as the play became fractured. Still, size did not stop him topping the tackle count.

8. Toby Faletau – 4½
Alert to snaffle a turnover in the first half and put in another good shift on defence but Faletau was a spectre of the runner that took the game to Argentina. Coughing up the ball at the hands of Tusi Pisi as the clock ran down summed that up.

Replacements: Ken Owens burrowed bravely and Luke Charteris made a strong case for inclusion against the All Blacks, but the main story here was two poor displays – one surprising, the other less so. Gethin Jenkins has obviously softened from inactivity at Toulon and was terrorised by James Johnston, while Rhys Priestland booted some good ball – and surely his immediate international prospects – away.

Samoa

15. Fa’atoina Autagavaia – 6, 14. Paul Perez – 6, 13. George Pisi – 7, 12. Paul Williams – 6, 11. David Lemi (captain) – 6½, 10. Tusi Pisi – 7½, 9. Kahn Fotuali’i – 8, 1. S Taulafo – 5, 2. Ole Avei – 6, 3. Census Johnston – 7, 4. Daniel Leo – 7, 5. Filo Paulo – 6, 6. Ofisa Treviranus – 7, 7. Maurie Faasavulu – 7½, 8. Taiasina Tui’fua – 8½.

They brought everything everybody expected – power, passion and inventiveness – and it was all too much for Wales to handle. Halfbacks Kahn Fotuali’i and Tusi Pisi were electric at times and George Pisi provided characteristic moments of genius, notably an acrobatic finish early in the second half. Samoa’s destroyer-in-chief deserved the man-of-the-match award, though. Step forward, Taisana Tui’fua. The number eight managed 94 rampaging running metres and some simply brutal hits – a wonderful night at the office.

By Charlie Morgan — @CharlieFelix

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28 comments on “Wales 19-26 Samoa: Welsh Player Ratings

  1. Agreed. Halfpenny the only positive. 10 is going to be a nightmare. Biggar is injured, so it looks as if, yet again, Priestland will have to be played. I’m not sure the inevitable rocket he’ll get from Gatland this week will be enough for him to sort his game out. He’s been declining every game since the WC in all honesty.

    The other concern i had, and this was prior to kick off, was Ryan Jones talking about how Wales can, and need to match Samoa physically. Samoa are a BIG team, surely the gameplan should’ve been one of skill? Run straight, fix the defenders and pass! Play to our strengths (handling skills etc). We tried to play Samoa at their own game, tried to match them phyiscally and got absolutely smashed – utterly clueless, and in my opinion, indicative of a team whose confidence is at rock bottom.

  2. Some odd scores – Pisi gets mentioned as showing flashes of genius yet only gets a 7 – why the reticence to dish out the 8/9/10 scores when they were flowing freely for the Eng v Fiji game?

    I think you’ve rated Wales too highly. Our worst performance in years rates less than an average mid-point mark.

  3. i have to say i was absolutley disgusted by the way the game against samoa was steered by Wayne (i hate the welsh) Barnes and the frog with the whistle.
    HAlfpenny had a swinging arm tackle against him, infront of barnes, Instant yellow but no action taken,
    the prop had his head ripped off again infront of barnes who made excuses for the samoan.
    Biggar was nto cleared out of the ruck in a legal way with arms raised and an embrasing tackle type contact, more of a head down barge direct to the shoulder,
    it actually looked liek they were targeting players and must have had bets in the dressing room as to who could injure a welshman the most.
    we started off bad and quickly went down hill.
    priestland is just liek that other crap turk stephen jones, kick kick kick , you can read him like a book, maybe its the best way down west but sure as hell aint the best for wales.
    again as i said before why oh why are we carryign 3 number 10s on the bench??
    howely is a fool whos is picking on name and not form, he is a liablity as a coach in doing so.
    he needs to grow a pair and pick people not in the funny handshake club.
    however fridays game did prove that tuperic is much more deserved of a place than warburton.
    i rated fussel at the dragons and he has improved even more at the ospreys, he should be getting a chance,
    jamie roberts, pah gigety gigety shoudl go on the screen in the film version of family guy,
    he again is a one play man like scott gibbs was ,, inside ball run straight oops im tackled, IT ONLY WORKS SO MANY TIMES MATE.
    lets get back to a proper game, if they are flat chip them, if deep run at them , in the first 5 mins hit the full back so hard he wont want to catch another up and under, come on fenwick show em how to do it.

  4. A 6.67 average for the Samoans is too low for a team that outplayed the grand slam champions and world cup semi finalists in my opinion. If Goode and Sharples were worthy of 9s last week then a few Samoans were worthy of them this week. Welsh scores look pretty fair.

    • Again, lads, thanks very much for the comments. Really appreciate them.

      Matt, a team with an average rating of far less than 6.67 would have beaten the Grand Slam champions on Friday night’s form. I stand by the Samoan’s scores.

      Brighty, on George Pisi, I would say he flitted in and out of the contest slightly and lost maybe half a point for the swinging arm of Halfpenny. Moments of brilliance were undeniable, though.

      Staggy, Phillips was the second best nine on the park by a distance, although I still think he did well considering the shambles in front of him. Biggar started quite poorly, missing touch with a penalty and not quite asserting authority. After that, it got better I think.

  5. Seems like there’s a few harsh ones in there, no idea how Biggar got 5 when Jarvis got 4. Jarvis has looked far from an International and while Biggar was on the field Wales looked like they would win. He had the composure and awareness that Priestland has been lacking since the first game of the 6 Nations. Hard to judge the Centre’s and wingers once Priestland came on but I thought Roberts had his best game of the season & Beck did the only good thing Wales managed all game. Halfpenny was nowhere near as good as people seem to be expressing, he got a lot of ball cos Samoa kicked it to him a lot, but he never once brought any team mates into the game, he should have put North into space twice but he gave him man and ball and then kicked the ball away, awful basic skills.

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