Samoa's Johnny Leota dives to score a try against Wales.
Six Nations grand slam champions Wales suffered a fifth
straight loss when they were humbled 26-19 at home by Samoa
today, causing consternation in a proud rugby country with
world champions New Zealand up next.
Samoa was bright from the off in the November international
and Fa'atoina Autagavaia scored a try after just over a
minute following a flowing drive marked by missed Wales
The hosts went in 13-10 ahead at the break, albeit against
the run of play thanks to Ashley Beck's breakaway try after
an interception well inside his own half.
Wales started with usual captain Sam Warburton on the bench
and with Mike Phillips recalled as scrumhalf but eight
changes from the defeat by Argentina last weekend failed to
spark the home side under interim coach Rob Howley.
The Welsh, who host the All Blacks next Saturday when coach
Warren Gatland returns from British and Irish Lions' duties,
clung on after the break thanks to the boot of Leigh
However, an early second-half try from George Pisi and Johnny
Leota's late touchdown sealed a deserved victory for the
Wales, on a high after March's grand slam triumph, lost all
three tests in Australia in June before going down to
Argentina and Samoa in a stark reminder to the Six Nations
sides of how far behind the southern hemisphere they have
In Warburton's absence, former skipper Ryan Jones took over
the armband for a record 29th time but was far from happy.
"What could have been the greatest day of my career has
turned into one of the worst," he told the BBC.
"We came second best in quite a few facets of that game. It
was a game that slowly slipped away from us and we didn't
have enough in the end. But that's not taking anything away
from Samoa, who turned up with a physical edge and a gameplan
that stopped us playing again."
Samoa, who also beat Wales in the 1999 World Cup when their
more celebrated opponents were hosts, travel to France next
Saturday seeking another scalp.
Wales flyhalf Rhys Priestland was also dropped to the bench
but was called into action amid a raft of Wales injuries
during the game, which did not help their cause.
"They got some big boys, physical boys," Priestland said when
asked about Samoa.
"It's going to be tough (against New Zealand). It's the
toughest match in world rugby. We've got some injuries. We've
got to look in the mirror."