RWC #47: Brian Lima plays in a record fifth World Cup

The Samoan legend produced a moment of tackling magic 16 years after his debut

Samoan centre Brian Lima tackles South African halfback Derick Hougaard during the Rugby World Cup Pool C match between South Africa and Samoa at Lang Park at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Christophe Simon/Getty Images

Samoan centre Brian Lima tackles South African halfback Derick Hougaard during the Rugby World Cup Pool C match between South Africa and Samoa at Lang Park at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Christophe Simon/Getty Images

 
The Rugby World Cup is a relatively young competition in comparison with some of its counterparts, but the changes it has seen in the 28 years since its inception have been huge.

The game moved nervously from amateurism into professionalism and then grew and grew, while the players, well, they also grew and grew.

Given the wholesale changes in the sport since the inaugural World Cup, then praise is due for Samoan legend Brian Lima, a stalwart of a record five editions of the tournament.

When Lima announced he would retire after the 2007 tournament, it’s not hard to imagine a collective sigh of relief passing around the rest of the world’s players as they knew they would never have to come across ‘The Chiropractor’ again.

One of Lima’s finest World Cup moments came during Samoa’s 2003 World Cup group defeat at the hands of South Africa.

Early in the second half, and with the Springboks 34-10 to the good, Joost van der Westhuizen breaks and looks for halfback partner Derick Hougaard inside.

The Boks outhalf gathers and looks to move it, but before he can process what he is going to do next Lima comes hurtling out of nowhere like a steam train and delivers an earth-shattering, toe curlingly big hit.

The ball remains in play for another few minutes, which Hougaard spends pole-axed near the halfway line, cartoon birds spinning round his scrum cap.

Lima’s tackle not only epitomised the ferociousness and physicality of Pacific Island rugby but also, coming 16 years after his World Cup debut, was a testament to his own longevity.

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