OPINION: Samoa have enough weapons to give the World Cup's "Pool of Death" a real rattle.
Those weapons misfired a little today but their 49-12 humbling of Namibia is reinforcement that the days when Pacific Island nations brought a big-hitting but loose game to major tests is long gone.
That physicality is complemented by all the mod-cons of professional rugby, including fitness and set piece know-how.
Namibia are lacking in those things and were exposed by a Samoan side who will have South Africa, Wales and dark horses all on edge in pool D.
The Samoa-Wales match in Hamilton on Sunday should be one of the highlights of the pool phase at this tournament, with the vibrant Welsh facing certain elimination if they go down.
Most of the Samoans are hardened at either Super Rugby or English Premiership level.
Evidence of that shone through today and during the toppling of the Wallabies two months ago when the likes of openside flanker Maurie Sa'avalu, No 8 George Stowers and prop Zak Taulafo excelled in the dark areas of the game which Samoa may not have previously paid so much attention.
Now a test of their depth looms against Wales, with first five-eighth Tusi Pisi and key loose forward Taiasina Tu'ifua both limping off with serious looking injuries limping off in the first half.
The Samoans lost some direction after that, something they can't afford when their tournament hopes go on the line just four days from now.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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