Strong Samoa thrash France to book Tonga clash

Embed from Getty Images
Samoa Men v France Men

Samoa have run out 62-4 victors in Warrington against a disappointing French side.

The win locks them in at second place in group A, and following Tonga's thrashing of the Cook Islands earlier in the day we will see a mouthwatering Tonga v Samoa quarter-final fixture next week.

After such a dreadful start to their world cup campaign, Samoa have bounced back with style, with their side looking very strong on both sides of the ball against France. In a fiery clash, France couldn't keep with Samoa for long, and the scoreboard threatened to get even uglier at certain points in the match.

An early try for Tim Lafai set the tone for the evening/morning. A Luai grubber found its mark perfectly, and Crichton kicked his first conversion of many to give his team a 6-0 lead in the 4th minute. The game settled down a little, and despite Samoa being well on top territory wise, when France shifted the ball early on in their sets they looked threatening.

France got their first attacking opportunity of the night in the 15th minute when a six again and a penalty helped them downfield. Some great cover defence from Samoa prevented Romano from crossing on the right edge. But France couldn't back up the positive signs, and they gave away two new sets for Samoa in the next minute, which ultimately led to Samoa extending their lead.

This time it was Brian To'o who crossed the stripe for Samoa, with their whole backline linking up to give him plenty of space on the right edge to stroll over. In their set after points, France gave away another six again call, and suddenly Samoa looked unstoppable. It was their other winger, May, who crossed, and following the successful conversion Samoa led 16-0.

After withstanding some more Samoan pressure, France suddenly found themselves with some field position. Making use of a penalty, they forced one, two, then three dropouts through perfectly weighted kicks and some patient, pressure-building attack. Forced to defend for a solid seven or eight minutes, the Samoan defence held strong in good signs for them. Finally, a poor Gigot kick released the pressure valve, and Samoa were rewarded with a 20m tap.

May crossed for his second of the night in the 35th minute, and then his third on the stroke of half-time, both off the back of good hands and speed from the Samoan backline. Going into the break, it was Samoa with the 28-0 lead, and the French side looked quite disheartened heading into the sheds.

It wasn't long before May crossed for his fourth, with the winger diving over after some good offloading from Luai in the 45th minute. Then it all imploded for France, with the team clearly offside from their kick-off, and gifting Samoa a midfield penalty. They didn't need many plays to cross the stripe again, with To'o scoring his second of the night in the 48th minute.

France got on the board in the 53rd minute, with a penalty and a dropout helping them apply pressure before an awkward grubber was grounded by Yaha. A 40/20 kick from Tony Gigot kept the French pressure on, but they couldn't find more points. Samoa's defence was outstanding all night, and has improved significantly since their opening match.

Milford crossed in the 63rd minute for Samoa after a very long and disjointed video referee process. Lafai then made it 50 just minutes later, and then a somewhat lucky try for Chanel Harris-Tavita in the 70th minute increased the Samoan lead to 52 points. Milford got his double after being named as the starting halfback only an hour out from the game, with the final scoreline 62-4. 

All eyes are on the upcoming Samoa v Tonga do-or-die clash, but for France their tournament is over. They will host the 2025 world cup, and they have some rebuilding to do before then if they would like to be competitive at a home tournament.

Samoa Men 62 - France Men 4

Venue: Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington
Crowd: 6756
Halftime Score: Samoa Men 28 France Men 0 Players of the Match:
3 points - Jarome Luai
2 points - Taylan May
1 points - Brian To'o

Tries: Tim Lafai (2), Brian To'o (2), Taylan May (4), Anthony Milford (2), Chanel Harris-Tavita
Field Goals:
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Stephen Crichton (9/11)
Penalty Goals:

Tries: Fouad Yaha
Field Goals:
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Arthur Mourgue (0/1)
Penalty Goals:

See how it happened in our Match Centre