In front of a raucous home crowd, the USA Eagles came out to take on Samoa in an important match. A win here, and the Eagles will likely just need to defeat Spain tomorrow to reach the quarterfinal. But a loss will leave the Americans needing a win over AUstralia tonight to keep hopes alive. Danny Barrett bolstered American spirits with a thundering try to the right side of the post in the second minute. Folau Niua could not add the conversion, keeping Samoa uncomfortably close.
Folau Niua’s ensuing restart both failed to go ten meters and landed in touch, giving Samoa a free kick at centerfield. Samoa capitalized and scored a try from David Afamasaga. Tila Mealoi’s conversion put the Eagles behind.
Team USA worked the next possession into the Samoa twenty-two, winning a penalty twelve meters shy of the line. Off the penalty, Martin Iosefo crashed across the line for the lead. Niua’s conversion was true, returning the Americans to a five-point advantage.
To end the half, Danny Barrett found paydirt for a second time. This one coming in the left corner. Niua, working the angle and wind, drilled the conversion to end the half: USa 19, Samoa 7.
The second half started with a level of physicality not seen in the first half. The first chance at points came when Martin Iosefo drew in two Samoan defenders and tried to pass out to Perry Baker on the wing, but Baker failed to come up with it. The next shot at points came and was claimed by Ben Pinkelman with a try right by the post. Niua added the conversion to stretch the lead to 26–7 with the restart coming at under two minutes.
In the final minute, Barrett looked to make it a hat trick, but took a high tackle leading to a red card for Samoa. The Eagles kicked the penalty for touch inside the Samoa twenty-two. The lineout led to a short-arm penalty in favor of Samoa. Samoa looked like it might score an eighty-meter try, but Joe Schroeder managed to track down the runner with the aid of Carlin Isles. The tackle saved the instant try, but it did not prevent a consolation score on full-time by Samoa. Still, the result gave team USA the much-needed victory: USA 26, Samoa 12.