Fullback Emiliano Boffelli scored 16 points in a man-of-the-match performance as Argentina got their Rugby World Cup campaign back on track with a hardfought 19-10 victory over a committed Samoa on Friday.
Boffelli scored an early try and converted four of five kicks from the tee to get the Pumas back to winning ways after the disappointment of their 27-10 loss to 14-man England in their Pool D opener.
“It’s a massive victory for us, very important for this tournament,” Argentina captain Julian Montoya said after first thanking his noisy compatriots in the stands.
“The last game against England, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do, today we did it pretty well. Still plenty to improve but that’s exciting too.”
Samoa managed just one penalty kick from former Wallabies flyhalf Christian Leali’ifano until replacement hooker Sama Malolo barged his way over the line for his third try of the tournament five minutes from time.
That set up a frenetic finale but Nicolas Sanchez, coming off the bench to win his 99th cap for Argentina, lashed over a final penalty from just inside the Samoa half to make the game safe.
Follow all the traction from the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard below.
Rugby World Cup 2023: Argentina vs Samoa
Argentina take on Samoa in Pool D with kick off at 4:45pm
The Pumas lost their opening game to England
Samoa defeated Chile last time out and sit second in Pool D
Duncan Paia’aua is yellow carded 35 seconds in
Emiliano Boffelli scores Argentina’s first try
Boffelli adds to the scoreline with a penalty
Christian Leali’ifano gets Samoa on the scoreboard with a penalty
Boffelli slots a second penalty
Full time statistics - team
19:35 , Imogen Ainsworth
Territory: Argentina 59%, Samoa 41%
Possession: Argentina 62%, Samoa 68%
Metres carried: Argentina 381, Samoa 129
Defenders beaten: Argentina 36, Samoa 9
Mauls won: Argentina 8, Samoa 3
Rucks won: Argentina 86, Samoa 46
Scrum success: Argentina 100% (9/9) Samoa 77.8% (7/9)
Lineout success: Argentina 100% (16/16), Ssamoa 72.7% (8/11)
Penalties conceded: Argentina 11, Samoa 13
Tackles made: Argentina 77, Samoa 141
Tackles missed: Argentina 9, Samoa 36
Watch - Nicolas Sanchez penalty
19:20 , Imogen Ainsworth
Nicolas Sanchez, the country’s all-time leading points scorer, slotted the winning penalty on his 99th appearance for Argentina. The score denied Samoa a losing bonus point as it put them further than 7 points down.
— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) September 22, 2023
Full time stats - individual
19:10 , Imogen Ainsworth
Most tackles: Jonathan Taumateine (Samoa, 14)
Most metres: Juan Cruz Mallia (Argentina, 97)
Most carries across the gainline: Pablo Matera (Argentina, 8)
Most points: Emiliano Boffelli (Argentina, 16)
Argentina 19 -10 Samoa
18:54 , Imogen Ainsworth
It was a match that was littered with handling errors from both sides, particularly in the first half as the rain hammered down in Saint-Étienne but Argentina were the victors with a scoreline of 19-10.
After the Siva Tau from Samoa, Christian Leali’ifano got the Pool D match underway. Within 35 seconds fullback Duncan Paia’aua was given a yellow card for playing fly-half Santiago Carreras in the air. He was sent to the sin bin to wait for the verdict from the off-field review, which later deemed a yellow card to be the suitable punishment and he returned to the pitch after his ten-minute suspension.
Argentina made use of their one-man advantage and Emiliano Boffelli scored eight minutes in. After a stumble towards the line, he outstretched his left arm and regained control to score, which he then converted himself to give his side the 7- 0 lead.
Christian Leali’ifano then had a chance to put three on the board for Samoa, but his penalty effort went wide after 15 minutes played. Boffelli converted his first penalty opportunity from 45 metres out to extend Argentina’s lead to 10-0.
Leali’ifano then slotted a penalty of his own on the second time of asking from 49 metres and Samoa moved to within a converted try before Boffelli once more added to Argentina’s score with another penalty. The score at half-time was 13 -3.
After half-time, the rain had eased, but errors still crept into the game. Boffelli looks to have scored a second, but the TMO spotted his double movement and the score was chalked off. He then added to the scoreline again with a penalty on 52 minutes, before missing another on 56.
Samoa scored on 75 minutes to put themselves back in contention as a Sama Malolo tap-and-go moved them within metres before the ball found its way back to him after the phases and he crashed over for Alai D’Angelo Leuila to convert.
Nicolas Sanchez scored a penalty on his 99th appearance to take the score to 19-10 and ruin Samoa’s chances at a bonus point on 79 minutes before kicking the ball out for full time.
FULL TIME Argentina 19 -10 Samoa
18:41 , Imogen Ainsworth
Sanchez has the final word and kicks the ball out to end the match. They win the match but fail to secure a bonus point.
Argentina 19 - 10 - ARGENTINA PENALTY
18:39 , Imogen Ainsworth
79 mins and Nicolas Sanchez steps up to score the long-range shot on his 99th cap and puts Samoa out of bonus point territory, they’re now over a converted try behind.
Argentina 16 - 10 Samoa - SAMOA TRY!
18:35 , Imogen Ainsworth
75mins, the initial tap and go from Sama Malolo with a solo effort gets them to within a metre, and the ball eventually makes its way back to him and he thunders over! Alai D’Angelo Leuila converts!
— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) September 22, 2023
Argentina 16 - 3 Samoa
18:31 , Imogen Ainsworth
72mins, five-metre scrum to Samoa now as the ball is grounded by Argentina to diffuse the looming try-scoring threat.
Argentina 16 - 3 Samoa
18:28 , Imogen Ainsworth
69 mins, into the final 11 minutes now and Argentina have a scrum and retain possession after.
Argentina 16 - 3 Samoa - Samoa strong in defence
18:20 , Imogen Ainsworth
64mins, Great defending from Samoa to weather 11 phases of Argentine attack and win the penalty.
Argentina 16 - 3 Samoa - Big hit on Boffelli
18:14 , Imogen Ainsworth
58 mins, Fritz Lee with a big hit to Boffelli’s lower back as the whistle is blown. No foul play but Boffelli looks to be in some pain as he receives some medical treatment, but he remains on the pitch.
Argentina 16 - 3 Samoa - Missed penalty from Boffelli
18:10 , Imogen Ainsworth
56 mins and it’s a rare miss from Boffelli from long range.
Argentina 16 - 3 Samoa - ARGENTINA PENALTY
18:07 , Imogen Ainsworth
52 mins and Boffelli adds to the scoreline of which he’s been the sole provider so far.
Argentina 13 -3 Samoa - No try for Boffelli
18:00 , Imogen Ainsworth
48 mins, no try. A high tackle from Ben Lam around the neck of Boffelli gives Argentina the lineout. The winger then looks to score, but it’s judged to be a double movement and is chalked off.
Argentina 13 - 3 Samoa - Argentina scrum
17:56 , Imogen Ainsworth
46mins, Argentina go for the corner as Theo McFarland is penalised for changing his bind but the maul that follows from the lineout is unplayable after a pick-and-go. Argentina have a scrum five metres out.
SECOND HALF Argentina 13 - 3 Samoa
17:48 , Imogen Ainsworth
Santiago Carreras gets the second half underway!
First half stats - team
17:46 , Imogen Ainsworth
And here are some team stats:
Territory: Argentina 57%, Samoa 43%
Possession: Argentina 63%, Samoa 37%
Metres carried: Argentina 228, Samoa 54
Defenders beaten: Argentina 16, Samoa 2
Rucks won: Argentina 50, Samoa 20
Tackles: Argentina 32, Samoa 82
First half stats - individual
17:40 , Imogen Ainsworth
Here are some individual stats from the first half:
Most tackles: Seilala Lam (Samoa, 12)
Most metres: Mateo Carreras (Argentina, 59)
Most gainline-crossing carries: Mateo Carreras (Argentina, 5)
HALF TIME Argentina 13 - 3 Samoa
17:33 , Imogen Ainsworth
A hugely physical first half and Argentina have a ten-point lead going into the break. Two out of three missed penalties from Leali’ifano have seen them only score three points in the first half. The rain has certainly played a factor in the first half, lots of errors for both sides.
Argentina 13 - 3 Samoa - Samoa missed penalty
17:27 , Imogen Ainsworth
37 mins, Samoa win a penalty at the scrum as they overpower Argentina but Leali’ifano’s kick goes wide. He’ll be disappointed with that one as it was from much shorter range than the previous and he misses the opportunity to put his side within a score of Argentina with three minutes until half time.
ARGENTINA PENALTY Argentina 13 - Samoa 3 33 mins
17:23 , Imogen Ainsworth
Boffelli slots an easy penalty in front of the posts as Samoa are penalised for being offside.
SAMOA PENALTY Argentina 10 - 3 Samoa
17:17 , Imogen Ainsworth
Leali’ifano gets Samoa on the scoreboard as his kick from 49 metres out bounces off of the crossbar and goes over!
ARGENTINA PENALTY. Argentina 10 - 0 Samoa 24 mins
17:14 , Imogen Ainsworth
Tumua Manu and Fritz Lee offside and give away the penalty and Boffelli converts from 45 metres.
Argentina 7 - 0 Samoa
17:10 , Imogen Ainsworth
21 mins, Argentina scrum. Lots of handling errors out there as the weather plays its part in the match making the ball slippery. It’s a Samoan knock on and Argentina have a scrum.
Samoa have also missed eight tackles so far this half.
Penalty missed. Argentina 7 - 0 Samoa 15 mins
17:04 , Imogen Ainsworth
Christian Leali’ifano misses his penalty kick attempt as it goes wide.
Samoa go for the posts. Argentina 7 - 0 Samoa 14 mins
17:03 , Imogen Ainsworth
It’s a huge tackle from Boffelli but he comes off of his feet for the ruck and gives away the penalty.
Paia’aua returns. Argentina 7 - 0 Samoa 11 mins
17:00 , Imogen Ainsworth
It’s decided to only be a yellow card from the off-field review and Paia’aua comes back onto the pitch.
TRY! Argentina 7 - 0 Samoa 8 mins
16:58 , Imogen Ainsworth
Argentina are set up well from the set piece and with a reaching left arm Emiliano Boffelli gets the first try after stumbling towards the line. He converts his own score despite the rain.
SCRUM Argentina 0 -0 Samoa 6 mins
16:56 , Imogen Ainsworth
The free kick from the scrum isn’t taken from the mark and Samoa concede a penalty, Argentina’s scrum now.
KNOCK ON Argentina 0 - 0 Samoa 3 mins
16:53 , Imogen Ainsworth
A knock on from Matías Moroni in the slippery conditions and Samoa have the first scrum of the match.
YELLOW CARD Argentina 0 -0 Samoa 35 seconds
16:50 , Imogen Ainsworth
It’s an incredibly early yellow card for Duncan Paia’aua after pushing a player in the back and playing fly-half Santiago Carreras in the air. Samoa are down to 14 players after only 35 seconds, and the card has gone for off-field review.
KICK OFF Argentina 0 - 0 Samoa
16:48 , Imogen Ainsworth
Samoa start with their traditional Siva Tau before their fly half Christian Leali’ifano gets the match started in the rain.
This is a huge match for Argentina, they must win if they hope to make it to the quarter-finals.
16:39 , Imogen Ainsworth
First we’ll have the anthems Stade Geoffroy-Guichard before the match kicks off, starting with Argentina, then Samoa.
Ten minutes to go!
16:35 , Imogen Ainsworth
Ten minutes now until kick-off now between Argentina and Samoa at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Étienne!
Schwalger: ‘We know exactly what we expect'
16:30 , Imogen Ainsworth
Samoa assistant coach Mahonri Schwalger spoke of the importance of getting a win. He said: “World (Cup) rugby is all about winning. We’re focused on getting that ‘W’ tomorrow, we will do anything we can do to make sure we get that.
“We embrace the game tomorrow, we know exactly what we expect. As Samoans we love the physicality, so we are looking forward to it and I know there’s going to be some sore bodies tomorrow. We are just going to throw everything into it. It’s (physicality) in our DNA, the way we play.
“It’s going to be tough tomorrow, especially the Argentina supporters will be here tomorrow. Our people back home will be glued to the TV and I know our boys will put on a good performance and make them proud.”
“It’s just we can cope with pressure, especially in these big games we’ve got in the next couple of weeks.
“The last couple of days we have been talking about how we can transition from attack and defence and try and apply pressure against Argentina.”
Chocobares: ‘If we give their players space, it will be a long afternoon'
16:20 , Imogen Ainsworth
Centre Santiago Chocobares spoke of the threat that Samoa pose when given space. He said: “If we give their players space, it will be a long afternoon. Their centres are very strong and when they have the ball in their hands, they put their team on the front foot. Our challenge is to have a good defence and generate attacking opportunities.”
“We couldn’t have prepared better for this game. It was a nice week of training, so we will be ready. Regarding the Samoans centres, I have played against them in the Top 14 so I know they are good players, physically and technically.”
“It is my first Rugby World Cup, for me everything is new: every game, every moment, every preparation we are doing. I’m living it like this, as if it were my first and last World Cup. This pressure that has been talked about and the importance of the game tomorrow, we have to put it aside and enjoy these moments before a big game.”
Contepomi: ‘The way we selected the bench was strategic'
16:10 , Imogen Ainsworth
Before the match, Argentina assistant coach Felipe Contepomi spoke of the team’s wealth of experience on the bench, in particular Tomás Cubelli and Nicolás Sánchez. He said: “The way we selected the bench was strategic as in the previous game. We almost always go with three backs, although perhaps the difference was in the last game (only two). Changing this is pure strategy according to what we want to do in certain circumstances of the game.
“Obviously having such experienced players on the bench or on the field is very good. Cubelli, Sánchez and Creevy have a lot of experience and could be very beneficial if they have to come on at some point in the game.”
A potential 99th cap for Sanchez
16:00 , Imogen Ainsworth
If Argentina’s Nicolas Sanchez is used in this match he’ll earn his 99th cap but has played just 114 minutes of test rugby this season. He’s the country’s all-time leading points scorer (863), and the most capped back-line player.
15:50 , Imogen Ainsworth
Michael Cheika has also made three changes, including the addition of experienced back Matías Moroni who starts at 13. Joining him in the starting team are Eduardo Bello and Guido Petti in the front and second row.
Argentina XV: Juan Cruz Mallia, Emiliano Boffelli, Matías Moroni, Santiago Chocobares, Mateo Carreras, Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou Thomas Gallo, Julian Montoya (capt.), Eduardo Bello,Guido Petti Pagadizabal, Matias Alemanno, Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremer, Juan Martin Gonzalez
Replacements: Agustín Creevy, Mayco Vivas, Francisco Gómez Kodela, Pedro Rubiolo, Rodrigo Bruni, Tomas Cubelli, Nicolas Sanchez, Lucio Cinti
Rugby World Cup results in full
15:42 , Jack Rathborn
Pools A and B are stacked with some of the world’s heavyweight nations and sees South Africa, Ireland and Scotland battling to qualify from the same group. On the other side of the draw, two of Wales, Australia, Fiji, England, Argentina and Japan are likely to reach the semi-finals.
On the opening weekend there were impressive results for South Africa over Scotland, Wales who edged out Fiji, Australia who beat Georgia and England who saw off Argentina, while Ireland, Italy and Japan all racked up big wins.
George Ford plays the pragmatist as England finally come to the boil in Marseille cauldron
15:41 , Jack Rathborn
After months of toil and trouble, it took a Marseille cauldron for England to find their magic brew. It may not prove the elixir of Rugby World Cup life but on a night that threatened disaster after Tom Curry’s third-minute sending off at a bubbling Stade Velodrome, England came to the boil.
The win was an odd concoction, a convincing final margin even with Argentina scoring the encounter’s only try two minutes from time. It was a night for leaders, and England’s stood up. Courtney Lawes led the defensive effort, Manu Tuilagi and Maro Itoje were back to their best. But it was George Ford, playing the pragmatist, who took control to kick England to a faith-restoring victory.
Ford’s 27 points came from nine strikes of his right boot, three drop goals, six from the tee. English fly halves tend to enjoy the World Cup stage, and Ford’s performance here was a display of command, correctness and clarity. Not all ills are cured, clearly, but how England needed this sort of showing, their fire finally burning in the south of France heat.
15:39 , Imogen Ainsworth
Head coach Seilala Mapusua has made just three changes to last week’s victorious team against Chile. Paul Alo-Emile and Brian Alainu’u’ese join the forwards in the front and second-row, while Ben Lam moves to the wing.
Samoa XV: Duncan Paia’aua, Nigel Ah-Wong, Ulupano Junior Seuteni, Tumua Manu, Ben Lam, Christian Leali’ifano, Jonathan Taumateine, James Lay, Seilala Lam, Paul Alo-Emile, Brian Alainu’u’ese, Chris Vui (capt.), Theo McFarland, Fritz Lee, Steven Luatua
Replacements: Sama Malolo, Charlie Faumuina, Michael Alaalatoa,Taleni Junior Agaese Seu, Sa Jordan Taufua, Melani Matavao, Alai D’Angelo Leuila, Danny Toala
Rugby World Cup 2023: Argentina v Samoa
15:33 , Jack Rathborn
Argentina assistant coach Felipe Contepomi said the Pumas do not need a new mentality for Friday's Pool D clash against Samoa, they just needed to avoid the mistakes they made against England in their World Cup opener.
The 27-10 loss to an England side who played with 14 men for most of the match have triggered some nerves among fans of the twice World Cup semi-finalists, not helped by the almost two-week wait for their second fixture.
Contepomi, though, said the squad had faith in the structures they had put in place under Michael Cheika over the last 18 months and just needed to execute properly at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
"I do respect every opinion, but what's important is what we think," he told reporters through a translator on Thursday.
"We prepared well for the England game. We're not looking to change our mentality but just not to make the same mistakes we made against England. Every game is a new match and we're confident in the work we have done.
"The easiest way to have a good result is to have a good game. And to do that we have to focus on everything we can control and nothing else."
Argentina have played Samoa only four times and not since 2005, but Contepomi said the availability of video meant the few Pacific islanders who did not play at the top level would be familiar enough.
"We haven't played Samoa for a long time but most of their players are playing in Europe so they play week in, week out against our players also they know each other pretty well," he added.
Samoa have won three of the four matches against the Pumas, including victories at the 1991 and 1995 World Cups.
Contepomi said although the Pumas were not taking Samoa lightly, such results were hardly relevant given the strides made in Argentinian rugby since they reached the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 2007.
"Which team between Argentina and Samoa have improved most?" he asked.
"I can't tell you, but I can tell you that Argentina since 2007 have had the chance to regularly play tier one teams. The possibilities of evolution for Samoa were not as great."