venue: CUA Stadium, Penrith
9th November 2008
Full Match Report
RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP 9 / 10th PLAY-OFF
France's disappointing World Cup campaign ended in a heavy defeat as Samoa recorded a crushing eight-try victory in the ranking play-off. Samoa dominated from the off with tries from Matt Utai, Francis Meli, Ben Te'o, George Carmont and Misi Taulapapa giving them a 24-0 lead at the break. Te'o and Ben Roberts extended the lead as France struggled to deal with Samoa's power and pace.
Two late tries salvaged some French pride, but the result was beyond doubt. France were talked up as potential dark horses before the tournament, but they failed to live up to expectations with this defeat ensuring they finished bottom of the pile in 10th position. Samoa - who end up in ninth place - were also tipped to impress, and their much-vaunted backline showed what it could do without any real pressure as they swept a demoralised France away in the first half.
Poor technique in the tackle, a lack of control at half-back and the absence of two specialist hookers all cost France dear in Penrith with Samoa easing clear. Utai crossed in the sixth minute to get the ball rolling and St Helens star Meli touched down after the ball was kept alive for the second try of the game. France's defence was letting them down and Te'o went through five defenders to grab the third after 24 minutes.
The try of the match saw Samoa sweep the ball through numerous pairs of hands before Tony Puletua's improvised pass allowed Carmont to cross. Taulapapa made up for a mistake by squeezing in the corner before half-time, and it was more of the same after the restart with Te'o running through a massive gap for his second on 48 minutes. France got on the scoreboard through tries from the impressive Jerome Guisset and Sebastien Planas, but the final word went to Puletua as he scored Samoa's eighth just before the final hooter.
Taylor, Planas, Sadaoui, Raguin, Pelo, Wilson, Bosc, Guisset, Moly, Fellous, Fakir, Anselme, Mounis. Replacements: Elima, Carrasco, Griffi, Baile.
Ropati, Utai, Meli, Carmont, Taulapapa, Roberts, Talipeau, Leuluai, Seuseu, F. Puletua, Te'o, T. Puletua, Hansen. Replacements: McDade, Lauitiiti, Paulo, Samau