Day five at the Rugby World Cup: Samoa launch World Cup campaign

Samoa play their Rugby World Cup opener on Tuesday when they face Russia in Pool A.

Here, the PA news agency looks ahead to that match and wraps up events from Monday, when Wales launched their campaign with victory over Georgia.

Kick-off for Samoa

Samoa face Russia in Kumagaya to open a campaign in which they are keen to make a lasting impression.

They have not reached the quarter-finals since 1995, and coach Steve Jackson said: “What is a better stage to put Samoan rugby back on the map than at a Rugby World Cup? We are here to make our own legacy.

“We want people to remember the Samoan team at this Rugby World Cup as we have done in 1991 and 1995 with those teams that have reached the quarter-final and done extremely well.”

The Samoans – ranked 16th in the world, four places above their opponents – take on a Russia outfit who were beaten 30-10 by hosts Japan last Friday in the first match of the tournament. The Bears are still seeking their first-ever World Cup win heading into what is their sixth match at this level.

Watson woe

Hamish Watson
Hamish Watson’s World Cup was ended against Ireland (Ashley Western/PA)

Scotland boss Gregor Townsend said after Sunday’s 27-3 defeat to Ireland in Yokohama, the second match in Pool A, that it did “not look good” in terms of a knee injury suffered by Hamish Watson.

And it has subsequently been announced that the Dark Blues flanker will miss the rest of the tournament, with his fellow Edinburgh player Magnus Bradbury being called up as his replacement.

There are also concerns over scrum-half Ali Price, who was spotted on crutches as the team boarded a train to their next base in Kobe, with assistant coach Danny Wilson saying “we’ll have to wait and see when the full assessment has been done.”

Scotland will look to bounce back from the Ireland loss when they take on Samoa next Monday.

Five points for Wales

Wales produced an impressive first-half display as they won 43-14 against Georgia at City of Toyota Stadium.

Showing no sign of a hangover from the disruption of assistant coach Rob Howley last week being sent home over an alleged breach of World Rugby’s betting regulations, Warren Gatland’s men secured a bonus point prior to the break following tries from Jonathan Davies, Justin Tipuric, Josh Adams and Liam Williams.

The second half then saw Georgia cross twice, through Shalva Mamukashvili and Levan Chilachava, with Wales responding to each effort by adding another try of their own, from Tomos Williams and then George North.

Wales’ second fixture in Pool D is against Australia on Sunday.

Hill heading home?

Cory Hill
Cory Hill is battling to be fit (Paul Harding/PA)

While it was a good day for Wales, there was some worrying injury news coming from their camp, with it emerging that lock Cory Hill may play no part in the tournament.

When asked at Wales’ post-match press conference if Hill, who has been battling to overcome a stress fracture of his leg and has not played since February, was out of the World Cup, Gatland said: “Possibly.

“If he doesn’t return to fitness, he will go back to the UK. We’re going to assess him tomorrow and see what sort of progress he has made.

“If it’s not good news, he will go back. If they think he can recover, then he will stay out. We are going to assess that overnight.”

Stat attack

Tusi Pisi
Tusi Pisi (David Davies/PA)

Tusi Pisi is set to surpass Peter Fatialofa’s record on Tuesday as the oldest Samoan to play at a World Cup at the age of 37. He needs 10 points to overtake Silao Leaega as their leading points scorer at the competition.

Pool A - Russia v Samoa, ITV 1115 BST
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