Steff Evans' late try helps Wales nick victory against Samoa in rain-soaked Apia
Last Updated: 23/06/17 12:10pm
Steff Evans' late try snatched a dramatic 19-17 victory for Wales against Samoa in a rain-soaked Apia.
Robin McBryde's young team looked like they would end their two-Test summer tour with a defeat after tries from Alapati Leiua and Maatulimanu Leiataua saw them trail with just minutes to go.
But wing Evans - who scored in either half - came up with the game's vital moment as he dived over in the corner.
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The Scarlets youngster had earlier crossed for his first international try to put Wales ahead and the 22-year-old showed his predatory instincts when it mattered most in the final few minutes to give his team victory.
It meant Wales made it back-to-back successes against Pacific Island nations and was achieved against a hugely physical Samoan side without 16 players on British & Irish Lions duty.
For the home team, it was further disappointment after they were hammered 78-0 by the All Blacks last Friday.
The last meeting between these two sides in 2012 saw Samoa claim a 26-19 victory in Cardiff and heavy rain throughout the day in the Pacific Islands drenched the Apia Park pitch.
It meant the surface duly cut up even before kick-off, but that failed to stop the home side from starting with a bang.
Tusi Pisi's cross-kick to captain David Lemi gave Samoa momentum and, when the ball was spread back right, Leiua did brilliantly to finish in the corner. Pisi converted and then kicked a penalty, and Wales were 10-0 down in as many minutes.
McBryde's men had been slow to get going and although a wet ball meant both sides were making basic errors, the tourists grew into the game.
Better ball possession secured two penalties which were kicked by Sam Davies and despite boasting just 31 caps between them, Wales' young forwards stepped up to the mark.
Their scrum was in fine fettle, a set-piece penalty giving Davies the chance to maintain his perfect record and send the visitors into the break just a point behind after Pisi missed with a drop goal effort with the last kick of the half.
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The second period started as it had ended for the Samoa fly-half. Pisi's kick was charged down by Aaron Shingler and Wales struck. Ellis Jenkins hacked the ball on and impressive recycling saw front row forwards Ryan Elias and Dillon Lewis combine to send Evans over the line.
It was a simple finish for the youngster but after Davies' conversion hit the post, Samoa hit straight back. Hooker Leiataua showed impressive pace to make the corner and beat Gareth Anscombe to the line. Pisi slipped, but still managed to convert.
McBryde chose that moment to reinforce his front row, Scott Baldwin and Wyn Jones entering the fray. The game was now almost totally dominated by the boot, both sides looking to force the other into making a mistake. Wales, though, were the ones who had to do the chasing and it looked for long periods like they would fail to break through.
In the end, it was Evans who came up with a moment of magic, the Scarlets winger showing the finishing instincts which have made him a star at regional level by scoring in the corner for the winning score. Davies' conversion was missed, but by then the damage was done.