“For my people”.
Those three words written on Stephen Crichton’s wrist tape were the inspiration for his World Cup semi-final heroics, which included a rehearsed field goal ploy that earned Samoa an historic place in next weekend’s final against Australia at Old Trafford.
Crichton, who was born in Samoa and moved to Australia at two years of age, scored two tries and kicked three goals, as well as the golden point field goal, which broke the hearts of English fans in the 40,000 crowd at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London.
“I just had ‘For my people’ written on my strapping tape,” Crichton said. “We have got a lot of fans all around the globe that are backing us and we definitely see the marches they are doing back home.
“It was definitely for them, and I know they will be cheering back home. We see a lot of videos on social media, and it just motivates the boys and gives us a lot of love and support.”
Crichton finished one of the best tries of the tournament in the first half and scored an intercept try late in the match that many thought had secured Samoa’s first World Cup finals appearance, only for a Herbie Farnworth try to send the match into extra time.
After Elliott Whitehead charged down an attempted Anthony Milford field goal, Samoa looked to Crichton to step up and dummy half Chanel Harris-Tevita feigned to his halfback before passing to the Panthers centre.
Crichton puts Samoa in the final!
Remarkably, Crichton said it was his first field goal, but he also revealed that the team had practiced the move at training on Friday.
“I practice it every training session and you never know when these moments come around,” Crichton said.
“I knew that if it did come around I, like it did, that I had done the practice and done the work to slot it.
“I was just there on the right as an option for Milf. If they did pressure him that was the set-up that we planned.
“I thought I hit it short but just watching the ref to see what he was going to do, all of the emotions went out of it. It got emotional with the boys on the field because it take a lot to put our little country on the map.”
Late Crichton intercept gives Samoa slim lead
Crichton had practiced kicking field goals from a similar position at Friday’s captain’s run, with Harris-Tevita at dummy half after regular hooker Danny Levi returned home due to family reasons.
"It is funny, we only practiced that set where we passed to Stephen Crichton yesterday," Harris-Tevita said.
"Milford is the main one and he obviously missed the first one so when we got the ball back he was telling me it will go to Crichton so when we got into the position I looked at Milford and then I saw Critta out of the corner of my eye and I threw it straight to him.
One of the craziest offloads you'll see sends Crichton over
"He iced it and that was one of the best of my moments in my career. It will be hard to top that."