KUMAGAYA, Japan (Reuters) – Samoa survived being reduced to 13 men for almost 10 minutes in the first half and struggled to overcome a limited and exhausted Russia team to open their Pool A campaign with a bonus-point 34-9 victory at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium on Tuesday.
The Pacific islanders scored six tries but did themselves no favours in a scrappy game that saw Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu’u shown yellow cards for high tackles within two minutes of each other, while Russia’s Kirill Gotovtsev was also sinbinned for a similar offence.
Gotovtsev’s tackle on Afaesetiti Amosa while he was scoring Samoa’s second try resulted in a serious knee injury to the number eight. Matu’u also failed a head injury assessment and could miss the Sept. 30 clash with Scotland in Kobe.
Ed Fidow (two), Lee-lo and Alapati Leiua also crossed for tries as Russia, who fielded the same team last Friday in the tournament opener against Japan, wilted in the second half but they now have nine days off until they meet Ireland in Kobe.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Tony Lawrence)