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'Our players deserve better than that' - Samoan coach unhappy with double-standards around tackling officiating

After suffering a 39-19 defeat to Japan, Samoa’s World Cup quest for a quarter-final birth appears all but over in the hyper-competitive Pool A.

However, the Samoans were left questioning the treatment of their players after a case of double standards after one of their players was unable to return from an HIA after a high shot from the Japanese.

Openside flanker TJ Ioane was yellow-carded for a late tackle on winger Kotaro Matsushima early in the first half with the scores close at 9-6. Jaco Peyper immediately referred the late shot to the TMO and issued Samoa’s fifth yellow card of the tournament following the incident.

The tackle to the chest left Samoa’s head coach Steve Jackson questioning ‘what you can do in the game anymore’, however, he did concede it was a late shot.

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“We were on the end of another call when you’re hit in the chest and I don’t know what you can do anymore in this game, to be honest,” Kiwi coach Steve Jackson said after the game regarding Ioane’s tackle.

However the Samoans gripe occurred when Tim-Nanai-Williams was forced from the field with concussion symptoms a little while later following a shoulder to the head by James Moore. The Japanese escaped card punishment only being penalised for the incident. Williams was unable to return to the game, missing all of the second-half.

“I’m probably just as bewildered as most people,” Jackson said.

“I agree TJ’s (tackle) was late. But it was shoulder to the chest, then it is a shoulder to the head (against Nanai-Williams) and we lose a player after the HIA.

“I don’t take away anything from the Japan side but our players deserve better than that.”

Samoa’s bid for their first quarter-final appearance since 1995 now looks over with just one win from four games and Ireland, Scotland, and Japan all vying for qualification. Jackson was proud of the efforts of his men despite the critical loss.

“One thing we spoke about was trying to silence the crowd, just through the way we worked, and I think that in parts, especially in the first half, we did that.

Centre Henry Taufu scored all of the Samoans points with a 19-point haul against Japan.

“Henry was outstanding. He took over the ball-kicking duties but, not only that, his ball-carrying, too. He’s been a shining light, as Seilala (Lam) was tonight. I’m proud of their efforts.”

The Samoans have been severely hurt by discipline in the tackle area in this tournament with Ed Fidow receiving two yellows against Scotland to be sent from the field while Ray Lee-Lo and Motu Matu’u were sin-binned for tackles made against Russia.

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'Our players deserve better than that' - Samoan coach unhappy with double-standards around tackling officiating