Samoa claimed a hard-fought 25-16 victory against the USA in Brighton on Sunday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
The game lacked the drama of the match between their Pool B opponents Japan and the Springboks on Saturday, but there was no shortage of action, albeit in patches.
Both teams struggled to find their rhythm early on, but with the USA battling at the set-pieces and at the breakdown, Samoa were handed the opportunity to get on the board without being threatening.
Flyhalf Tusi Pisi knocked over two quick penalties before stabbing through a grubber kick inside the 22 for Tim Nanai-Williams to chase. The nimble fullback made no mistake, beating opposite number Blaine Scully to the ball to score his first international try.
The stop-start affair continued, but the Americans sparked to life in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Their first points of the tournament came via a penalty by No 10 AJ MacGinty.
Then, in a moment of sheer brilliance, they ran the length of the field for captain Chris Wyles to score at the other end. With Samoa on the attack, the ball was turned over and shifted through the hands beautifully down the left flank and Wyles finished off the move. But ill-discipline cost them once again after the restart and Pisi nailed his third penalty for Samoa to lead 14-8 at half-time.
At the restart, Samoa were firmly on the back foot. The Americans exerted pressure on their defensive line, but without success.
Captain and No 8 Ofisa Treviranus then barged over from close range to reinstate Samoa's handy advantage.
Pisi and MacGinty traded penalties in the 50th and 52nd minutes of play. USA dominated the final quarter, but Samoa were up to the challenge and in the 69th minute, replacement kicker Mike Stanley bagged the game with his first and Samoa's fifth penalty goal.
The USA finished strongly, with prop Chris Bauman dotting down for their second effort, but it wasn't enough to secure them a losing bonus point.
Samoa – Tries: Tim Nanai-Williams, Ofisa Treviranus. Penalties: Tusi Pisi (4), Mike Stanley.
USA – Tries: Chris Wyles, Chris Bauman. Penalties: AJ MacGinty (2).
Samoa – 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Ofisa Treviranus (c), 7 Jack Lam, 6 Maurie Fa’asavalu, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Teofilo Paulo, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Zak Taulafo. Subs: 16 Viliami Afatia, 17 Motu Matu’u, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Alafoti Faosiliva, 21 Vavao Afemai, 22 Mike Stanley, 23 Fa’atoina Autagavaia.
USA – 15 Blaine Scully, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Seamus Kelly, 12 Thretton Palamo, 11 Chris Wyles (c), 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Mike Petri, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Al McFarland, 5 Greg Peterson, 4 Hayden Smith, 3 Titi Lamositele, 2 Zach Fenoglio, 1 Eric Fry. Subs: 16 Phil Thiel, 17 Oli Kilifi, 18 Chris Baumann, 19 Cam Dolan, 20 Danny Barrett, 21 Shalom Suniula, 22 Folau Niua, 23 Brett Thompson.
Photo: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images