Ed Fidow bagged a hat-trick of tries as Samoa moved a step closer to qualifying for the 2019 World Cup when they thrashed Germany 66-15 in Apia on Saturday, snapping a two-year losing streak.
It was the first match in a two-leg play-off to find the final qualifier to complete Pool A, which already includes Ireland, Russia, Scotland and hosts Japan.
Samoa responded in style to strident pre-match criticism from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi as they outscored Germany 10 tries to two.
After a string of nine defeats since beating Canada in 2016, Malielegaoi told the players they “have no guts” and if they lost they “all have to resign from the team”.
His outburst paid dividends as centre Alapati Leiua had the Pacific islanders on the board within eight minutes.
Melani Matavao (2), Jack Lam, Ed Fidow (3), Joe Tekori and Dwayne Polataivao all scored along with a penalty try while Ah See Tuala landed seven conversions.
Germany, who Malielegaoi said have “no knowledge whatsoever” about rugby, relied on a penalty by Raynor Parkinson in the first half with two tries to Jaco Otto and a Parkinson conversion in the second.
The return leg is in Heidelberg, Germany on July 14.
cf/jah (Additional editing by Sean McMahon)
© Agence France-Presse