In a thrilling match at the Rugby World Cup 2023, Argentina showcased their prowess with a victory over Samoa, reigniting their campaign in Pool D. Winger Emiliano Boffelli emerged as the hero, contributing all but three of his team’s points.
The first half of the game was marred by heavy rain, but Los Pumas gradually asserted their dominance, a momentum they never let slip away. While Samoa displayed their trademark defensive hits, Argentina capitalized on their territorial and possession advantage, securing a comfortable 13-3 lead by halftime, despite fly-half Christian Leali’ifano missing two kickable penalties.
Boffelli, instrumental in his team’s performance, not only finished a brilliant first-half team move but also added his third penalty in the 54th minute. With clear skies above and fervent support from their blue and white-clad fans, Argentina seemed poised to extend their lead. However, resilient Samoan defense, coupled with some handling errors, kept the Pacific Islanders in contention.
A late try by substitute hooker Sama Malolo brought Samoa within six points, tantalizingly close to securing a valuable losing bonus point. Nevertheless, veteran Nicolas Sanchez, with nerves of steel, sealed the game for Argentina with a long-range final penalty.
Boffelli, rightfully awarded the Mastercard Player of the Match, expressed his joy, saying, “We knew it wouldn’t be easy. Samoa is a formidable team. Today’s win was of great significance. It was a challenging game, and I’m elated for the team. A big thank you to everyone, especially our incredible supporters. We felt their unwavering support.”
Captain Julian Montoya acknowledged the immense support they received both in the stadium and at home, emphasizing the significance of the victory: “This is a monumental win for us. It holds immense importance in this tournament. While we started our last game against England on the wrong foot, today we executed our game plan admirably. There’s room for improvement, which is quite exciting. Credit to Samoa; they fielded exceptional players. It was a truly remarkable test match.”
Samoa’s head coach, Seilala Mapusua, offered a candid assessment of his team’s performance in defeat: “We made too many mistakes and struggled to adapt to the conditions, particularly early in the game. Argentina executed their game plan exceptionally well, and we couldn’t respond adequately. We were well aware that with Emiliano Boffelli on their side, they could score from anywhere, and the early yellow card didn’t help our cause.”
Captain Chris Vui looked ahead, acknowledging the lessons learned and the short turnaround time before their next match against Japan, saying, “We’ve got some valuable insights to take with us into the game against Japan in just six days.