SHAMBOLIC Wales slumped to a demoralising defeat at the Millennium Stadium last night just eight days before tackling world champions New Zealand.
Scorers: Wales - Tries: Beck; Con: Halfpenny; Pens: Halfpenny (4); Samoa - Tries: Autagavaia, Pisi, Leota; Con: Pisi; Pens: Pisi (3)
Humiliation awaits against the All Blacks unless Wales – World Cup semi-finalists only 13 months ago – can summon up a monumental recovery following successive home losses against Argentina and Samoa.
The Six Nations title holders saw Samoa score tries through full-back Fa’atoina Autagavaia, centre George Pisi and substitute Jonny Leota, while Pisi’s brother Tisi kicked 11 points in a game when the lead changed hands six times.
Leigh Halfpenny booted four penalties and a conversion of centre Ashley Beck’s 80-metre interception try, but Wales have now suffered five successive defeats and appear clueless in so many different areas.
Their demise is alarming, and although head coach Warren Gatland will return to mastermind next week’s preparations after being away on British and Irish Lions preparatory business, Wales seemingly have little hope of troubling either New Zealand or Australia seven days later.
They also suffered two more injuries – hooker Richard Hibbard and fly-half Dan Biggar the victims – and Gatland faces a Herculean task attempting to turn things around.
Samoa, though, spectacularly avenged their narrow World Cup pool defeat to Wales last autumn, proving good value on a night when their opponents once again delivered a mistake-riddled performance.
Wales captain Ryan Jones was at a loss to explain what had happened, saying: “I’m not sure where to start. It slowly slipped away from us and we didn’t have enough in the end. As players we have to take it on the chin because there is no hiding place. We have front up and make sure we turn up in a week’s time.”
Wales: Halfpenny, Cuthbert, Beck, Roberts, North, Biggar, Phillips, James, Hibbard, Jarvis, B. Davies, Evans, R. Jones, Tipuric, Faletau. Subs: Owens, Jenkins, Andrews, Charteris, Warburton, Knoyle, Priestland, S. Williams.
Samoa: Autagavaia, Perez, G. Pisi, Williams, Lemi, T. Pisi, Fotuali’i, Taulafo, Avei, C. Johnston, Leo, F. Paulo, Treviranus, Fa’asavalu, Tuifua. Replacements: T. Paulo, Afatia, J. Johnston, Tekori, Fomai, Sua, Leota, Lilomaiava. Referee: P Gauzere (Fra)