Samo inspires Wallabies win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Samo inspires Wallabies win

By Laine Clark 28/08/2011 03:41:54 PM Comments (0)

Too old and too slow?

Ask the All Blacks.

Radike Samo added another chapter to his comeback tale with a barnstorming display in the Wallabies' 25-20 Tri-Nations sealing win over New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Mind you, it was already a pretty absorbing read.

It will now go down in rugby folklore that the 197cm loose forward was rejected by every Super Rugby franchise at the start of last year - except one.

Told he was past it after returning to Australia from stints in France and Japan, Samo still went knocking at the Queensland Reds - and coach Ewen McKenzie answered, much to his relief.

And no doubt Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is pretty relieved too.

Samo's remarkable 34th-minute try set up a 20-3 halftime lead before the Wallabies held on to clinch the win - and the Tri-Nations title for the first time in 10 years.

Halfback Will Genia may have taken out the man-of-the-match award but Deans described Samo as his "X-factor".

"Things happen when Radike is involved, and blokes enjoy playing with him for that reason," he said.

"He was a point of difference player for us in attack and defence."

A reporter then asked Deans: "He's quick isn't he?"

"He looked quick," Deans said with a grin.

He certainly did to Mils Muliaina and Cory Jane.

Starting in his first Test since 2004, 35-year-old Samo gave Adam Thomson the big palm - then kept going.

Fullback Muliaina and speedster Jane then gave chase but only caught up with the big fella after he had covered almost 60m and crashed over near the posts.

The green and gold contingent of the 51,858-strong crowd went nuts - and the rest?

Well, the All Blacks fans were no doubt as silent as those red-faced interstate club officials who knocked Samo back are right now.

Samo's destructive runs may not been much fun for New Zealand but they brought a smile to Genia's face.

"We just looked to get the ball in his hands as early as we can, give it to him early because he gets you moving forward if he doesn't make a break himself," Genia said.

"We enjoy playing with him because things will happen - like they did for him tonight."

Already a cult hero for the Queensland Reds, Samo-itis appears to be catching for Wallabies fans - a pocket of the crowd were wearing afro wigs with their faces covered in black paint.

"Yeah, you've got guys in the stands wearing afros and getting out the black face paint," Genia laughed.

"He's a joy to play for."

The towering forward may be hard to miss on the field but All Blacks captain Richie McCaw admitted his side were guilty of not paying enough attention to him early.

"We let him run and he obviously had an impact," he lamented.

"We didn't look after him at all and they got the momentum."

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