Manu Samoa capitulates against Georgia
For the second week in a row, the Manu Samoa has been left wondering how on earth they lost.
Georgia rode a 17-0 second half comeback to turn over Samoa 27-19 at home in Tbilisi.
They took an early lead after a penalty from an attacking lineout gave them a kick for goal in the third minute.
But the Manu began to get comfortable, making the advantage line on attack with almost every carry, a trend which would continue throughout the first half
Another trend was Samoa’s huge scrum dominance, and a tighthead win 30 metres out gave us our first evidence of this in the seventh minute.
After eight strong phases winger, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, scored in the corner, and Tusi Pisi nailed the conversion from the sideline giving the Manu a 7-3 lead.
Samoa had most of the possession for the next ten minutes or so, and scored another try after 12 phases of strong carries from forwards and backs.
The ball was just short when lock Teofilo Paulo grabbed it and used every inch of his 201cm frame to simply reach over the top of the ruck and ground the ball, extending the lead to nine.
By the 25th minute it was all Samoa.
The scrum was so one-sided frustrations for the Georgians boiled over, leading to a bit of push-and-shove.
Georgia were making everything look difficult when fullback Ahsee Tuala strolled through some poor tackling in the 27th minute, taking the lead out to 16 for the Manu.
It looked like they were building the scoreboard pressure that they couldn’t last week, but again this would prove Samoa’s downfall in the long run.
Georgian halfback Vasil Lobzhanidze snuck through some good defence in the 31st minute, catching the Manu out to score by placing the ball at the base of the post to score and bring the deficit down to nine.
The rest of the half was an arm-wrestle, as the game evened out slightly and Manu Samoa would have been disappointed to only lead 19-10 at the break.
Not long into the second half Georgia found their foothold back into the game.
After another small melee following a scrum penalty, the referee gave yellow cards to Taulagi and a Georgian player for escalating the situation.
With this and more and more substitutes entering the game, Georgia began to take control.
Some excellent defence from the Manu kept them at bay, but eventually the possession and territory became too much.
Georgia turned down two kickable penalties and were held up over the line once before finally scoring in the 60th minute.
All of a sudden they had all the momentum in a two-point game, and more brave defence wasn’t enough to stop another try in the 66th minute, giving Georgia the lead 24-19.
To illustrate the shift in momentum, Georgia showed they owned the scrums now, walking one forward ten metres.
A penalty in the 72nd minute put them two scores ahead, leaving Samoa everything to do to avoid a second consecutive defeat.
Replacement first five D’Angelo Leuila got the ball deep into Georgian territory from a penalty, but a poor knock-on from replacement hooker Manu Leiataua at the resulting lineout sealed the win for Georgia.
Another penalty for a dominant Georgian scrum in the 78th minute summed things up – the game had flipped completely and Georgia won 27-19.
The Manu now return to Spain for next weekend’s game, where they’ll be desperate to avoid an 0-3 November.