Samoa find consistency to defeat South Africa
Thursday, August 11 2005 @ 11:59 pm ACST
Contributed by: Brett Northey
The Samoan side at this year's International Cup have at times dominated their opposition with powerful and spectacular football, no more so that in their second half against Canada. But they have also displayed some indifferent form, and this has most commonly been in their first halves. Against the rising South African side such an effort would not have been sufficient, so fortunately for the islanders they managed to put on a much more consistent performance.
In heavy rain and bitterly cold conditions (there was even snow at sea level around the Melbourne outskirts the day before), both sides played hard scrambling footy. The gale was blowing mostly across the ground but the Samoans were slightly favoured, but didn't manage to pierce the big sticks, finishing with a quarter time lead of 4 behinds to no score. In the second quarter the conditions improved (although by then this reporter was frozen solid) and both teams scored 2 goals with just two points separating them at the main change. Big Willem Jonker continued his impressive goalkicking form. As one of the South Africans from Afrikaaner origins, he was only recently brought into the team from a Rugby Union background. Yet his kicking style is very much a classical Aussie Rules one, with his head down over the ball, nicely guiding the ball with his hands, and a full follow through launching accurate 50 metre drop punts. He would be a handy player in many metropolitan Australian clubs. For the Samoans one of their goals resulted from loose play when a South African mix-up left a player free 25 metres out.
In the "premiership quarter" the Samoans were cleaner going forward and the South Africans couldn't penetrate their defence. Four goals to one effectively ended any realistic hope the Buffaloes had of a win, and this was confirmed when heavy rain again fell, this time horizontally, reducing the match to a slog.
Samoa 7.8 (50)
South Africa 3.3 (21)