Berlin – Samoa became the 18th country to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan after a 42-28 play-off second-leg victory over Germany in Heidelberg on Saturday.
The win, coupled with a 66-15 first-leg triumph in Apia two weeks ago, gave the Pacific island state a 108-43 aggregate victory.
Full-back Ahsee Tuala bagged two of Samoa’s three late tries as the plucky Germans led 28-21 with 14 minutes to go before the visitors pulled away.
Tuala, the Northampton Saints full-back, hit the line at pace and converted his own try to tie the scores at 28-all on 69 minutes.
Then right wing Ed Fidow, who scored a hat-trick of tries in the first leg, went over for a try Tuala converted to make it 35-28 with five minutes remaining.
With the German defence tiring, Tuala then crossed in the right corner on 80 minutes to seal the win with his second converted try.
Tuala finished with a haul of 22 points, having also converted all six of Samoa’s tries in Heidelberg.
Samoa go into Pool A with Ireland, Japan, Russia and Scotland in the first Rugby World Cup to be staged in Asia.
Germany get another chance to qualify for a maiden World Cup appearance when they face Canada, Hong Kong and an African team — probably Kenya — in a repechage competition.
The ‘last chance saloon’ round-robin tournament is set for Marseille during November with each country playing the other three once.
“We showed a high intensity against a team like Samoa for 80 minutes,” said Germany’s Uruguayan coach Pablo Lemoine.
“We’ve seen where we need to improve at that level to qualify for the World Cup.”
Rugby World Cup draw
Pool A: Ireland, Scotland, Japan (hosts), Russia, Samoa
Pool B: New Zealand (holders), South Africa, Italy, Africa winners, repechage winners
Pool C: England, France, Argentina, United States, Tonga
Pool D: Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji, Uruguay