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Ireland edge out Samoa

Ireland ended their six-match losing streak but will remain deeply concerned by their deteriorating form after struggling to a 20-10 win over Samoa.

Ronan O'Gara finished with a 15-point haul but it was not until his 66th-minute try that the Irish took control.

Number eight Jamie Heaslip crossed in the first half to help them into a 10-0 lead that was pegged back by a touchdown from Alesana Tuilagi.

Facing their weakest opposition of the autumn and a team ranked outside the world's top 10, they toiled woefully in the third quarter.

Had Samoa made better use of their enormous superiority in possession and territory, Declan Kidney's side would surely have been facing a second defeat of the month.

The Irish scrum, anchored by props John Hayes and Tom Court, were overwhelmed in a department where they were supposed to have the ascendancy.

It was only when Cian Healy and Rory Best came on that the set-piece improved, and it was this change that preceded O'Gara's try.

But the result fails to mask the fact that Ireland have significant problems that must be urgently addressed by Kidney.

Samoa, containing nine players from the Aviva Premiership and French Top 14, looked more dangerous when they abandoned the structured game plan that blunted their attacking instincts and will view this as a missed opportunity.


From Belfast Telegraph