23 Oct 2018

Samoa at the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan: 8 Things to Know

4:42 pm on 23 October 2018

Here's everything you need to know about one of the perennial favourite teams at the Rugby World Cup, Samoa.

Manu Samoa all but sealed their World Cup berth.

Manu Samoa all but sealed their World Cup berth. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

When will Samoa play at the Rugby World Cup?

The first game will be against Russia on Tuesday, September 24 at 7.15 pm in Japanese Time.

That means the local timing of the match is:

  • Apia: Tuesday, September 24, 11.15 pm
  • Pago Pago: Monday September 23, 8.15pm
  • Auckland: Tuesday 10.15pm
  • Sydney: Tuesday 8.15pm

The second game is against Scotland on Monday September 30 at 7.15pm Japanese Time.

That means the local timing of the match is:

  • Apia: Tuesday, October 1 at 12.15am
  • Pago Pago: Sunday, September 29 at 11.15pm
  • Auckland: Monday, September 30 11.15pm
  • Sydney: Monday 8.15pm

Samoa will play its third pool match against hosts Japan on Saturday October 5 at 7.30pm.

  • Apia: Sunday, October 6, 12.30am
  • Pago Pago: Friday, October 4, 11.30pm
  • Auckland: Saturday October 5 11.30pm
  • Sydney: Saturday October 5, 8.30pm

A week later it will play Ireland on Saturday October 12 at 7.45pm.

  • Apia: Sunday October 13 12.45am
  • Pago Pago: Friday October 11 at 11.45 pm
  • Auckland: Saturday October 12 11.45pm
  • Sydney: Saturday 9.45pm

When will the final of the Rugby World Cup be held?

The final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will be held in Yokohama on Saturday, November 2 at 6pm.

The kick-off in local times will be:

  • Apia: Saturday November 2, 11pm
  • Pago Pago: Friday November 1, 10pm
  • Auckland: Saturday 10pm
  • Sydney: Saturday 8pm

For more, check out our Rugby World Cup page

What pool is Samoa in this Rugby World Cup?

Samoa is in Pool A. It is one of the most competitive pools but, thankfully, isn't the "pool of death", Pool C.

Pool A pits Ireland (ranked second in the world) against Scotland (6) and hosts Japan (11) as well as Samoa (16) and Russia (19).

Pool C has England (4), France (8) and Argentina (9) up against Tonga (12) and the USA (15).

Only two from each pool can progress through to the quarter-finals. So in these two pools at least one or two top-ranked sides may not go through.

Where will the next Rugby World Cup be held?

The Rugby World Cup is held every four years. The last one in 2015 was held in England. The 2019 Cup will be hosted by Japan.

The Rugby World Cup in Japan will be held in 12 venues around the country.

The opening match, between hosts Japan and Russia, will be held in Chofu, Tokyo at the Tokyo Stadium. The final will be held at the International Stadium Yokohama.

The opening match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will be held on Friday, September 20. Kick-off in Tokyo will be 7.45pm.

The kick-off in local times will be:

  • Apia: Friday, September 20 11.45pm
  • Pago Pago: Thursday September 19 11.45pm
  • Auckland: Friday 10.45pm
  • Sydney: Friday 8.45pm
Patrick Fa'apale will start for Manu Samoa against Germany in Heidelberg.

Patrick Fa'apale will start for Manu Samoa against Germany in Heidelberg. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

How many times have Samoa played at the Rugby World Cup?

Samoa have played at every Rugby World Cup since 1991. They were controversially omitted from the first Cup in New Zealand in 1987; there were no elimination matches simply invitations to play. They have made the quarter-finals three times - 1991, 1995, 1999. But in the last four Rugby World Cups - 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 - they have not managed to advance beyond pool play.

What are Samoa's results like at the Rugby World Cup?

Samoa made up for their omission from the inaugural 1987 Cup by having a sensational Rugby World Cup in 1991 in Britain. They made the quarter-finals after finishing second behind eventual winners, Australia. They caused a sensation by beating Wales 16-13 in Cardiff and then soundly beat Argentina 35-12, six tries to one.

Their run ended when they lost to Scotland 28-6 in the quarter-finals at Murrayfield.

Their 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa was almost as good. They again finished second in their pool behind England. The team beat Italy (42-18) and Argentina (32-26).

But in the quarter-finals they once again had the misfortune of coming up against the eventual champions, losing to South Africa 42-14 in Johannesburg.

Samoa once again made the quarter-final play-offs at the 1999 Rugby World Cup in Britain.

Extraordinarily, the top three teams in the pool - Wales, Samoa and Argentina - all had two wins from three games, so there was no clear winner. The pool was decided on points differential so Wales and Samoa went through.

Samoa had beaten Japan (43-9) and, once again, Wales in a sensational game, 38-31. Again, though, it was Scotland who tipped them out of the quarter-finals. The team lost 35-20 at Murrayfield.

The next three Rugby World Cups - 2003, 2007 and 2011 - proved less successful. Samoa notched up some good results but never quite managed to make it out of the pool stages.

In 2015, they notched up just one win - against the USA, 25-16. They came achingly close to beating Scotland, losing 33-36, but were easily dispatched by Japan and South Africa.

Who has won the Rugby World Cup?

The All Blacks have won the Rugby World Cup three times; 1987, 2011 and 2015.

The Rugby World Cup in Japan will be their chance to win a fourth title and a third in a row. The All Blacks, or ABs as they are known, are the team with the most wins at the World Cup.

Samoa has never played the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup.

Besides the All Blacks' three victories in 1987, 2011 and 2015, three other countries have won a World Cup: South Africa, twice (1995, 2007), Australia, twice (1991, 1999) and England, once (2003).

The finals have been:

1987: New Zealand v France, 29-9

1991: Australia v England 12-6

1995: South Africa v New Zealand 15-12

1999: Australia v France 35-12

2003: England v Australia 20-17

2007: South Africa v England 15-6

2011: New Zealand v France 8-7

2015: New Zealand v Australia 34-17

New Zealand and Australia have been in the finals four times. France and England have been finalists three times, though France has always been on the losing side of the results. South Africa has a 100% record for its two finals appearances.

Melani Matavao scored twice for Samoa in their comeback victory.

Melani Matavao scored twice for Samoa in their comeback victory. Photo: AFP

How does the Rugby World Cup work?

There are 20 teams at the Cup.

They are: Ireland, Scotland, Russia, Japan, Samoa, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia, Italy, England, France, USA, Tonga, Argentina, Australia, Wales, Fiji, Uruguay, Georgia, plus another side yet to be named.

There are four pools of five countries. Sides play all the others in their pool play. The top 2 in each pool go into the knock-out stages.

Teams progress through quarter-finals to semi-finals and then to a final, if successful. There is also a third and fourth play-off for the bronze medal for the losing semi-finalist.

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