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Samoa battle to USA win, but Scotland and Japan opponents won't be too worried

Dublin’s AJ MacGinty kicks two penalties, but misses both conversions.

Tim Nanai-Williams scores the first try of the game.
Tim Nanai-Williams scores the first try of the game.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Samoa 25

USA 16

SAMOA GOT OVER the line in their Rugby World Cup opener in Brighton, but they were pushed all the way by a dogged USA side.

The Samoans led from start to finish, but will be concerned with the amount of times they let their Pacific Nations opponents back into the game, having led by 14 points twice in the second half.

Samoa were dealt a blow in the opening stages of the game when Reynold Lee-lo departed with with a suspected concussion after shipping a heavy blow from USA’s huge centre Thretton Palamo.

However, the Pacific Islanders got off the mark just before the 10 minute point, with out-half Tusi Pisi converting a penalty, but he was off target soon later with a second pshot at goal.

They did extend their lead on 20 minutes though, as Tim Nanai Williams touched down from Tusi Pisi’s grubber, but Pisi was off target yet again with the conversion to leave the score 8-0.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool B - Samoa v USA - Brighton Community Stadium Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Lee-lo was back on the pitch after completing his concussion examination, and the Samoans eased to 11-0 when Pisi knocked over his second penalty of the day.

USA fought back through. A penalty from Dubliner AJ MacGinty brought them back into it, before a moment of magic from MacGinty created a try for Chris Wyles. MacGinty was off target with the conversion, but the gap was down to three.

Pisi’s third successful kick late in the half ensured they’d hold a six point lead, 11-8.

The USA started brightest in the second half, when Palamo made a smart break through the middle, but they were undone soon after, as a Tusi Pisi grubber was mishandles, Ofisa Treviranus touching down.

Pis was off target with the conversion, striking the post, but he made up for it two minutes later, slotting over another penalty to give the Samoans a 22-8 lead after 50 minutes.

However, within three minutes MacGinty had cancelled it out with his second penalty of the day.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool B - Samoa v USA - Brighton Community Stadium Maurie Fa'asavalu is tackled by AJ MacGinty. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Takudzwa Ngwenya began to threaten for the Eagles, but the momentum was undone when Michael Stanley extended the lead with yet another penalty kick.

But the Americans kept fighting; substitute Chris Baumann burrowed over for a try but when MacGinty was off-target with the conversion, it left nine between them with five to play, just short of a losing bonus point.

They couldn’t snatch bonus point though, as Samoa saw out the final minutes in the USA half.

And while they got over the line, nether Scotland nor Japan will have been particularly frightened by their Pool B opponents, in a group that’s shaping up to be wide open.

Source: World Rugby/YouTube
Samoa scorers:
Tries: Tim Nanai Williams, Ofisa Treviranus (1 each)
Penalties: Tusi Pisi (4) Michael Stanley (1)
USA scorers:
Tries: Chris Wyles, Chris Baumann (1 each)
Penalties: AJ MacGinty (2)

Samoa: Tim Nanai-Williams; Ken Pisi, Paul Perez, Reynold Lee-Lo, Alesana Tuilagi; Tusi Pisi, Kahn Fotuali’i; Ofisa Treviranus (capt), Jack Lam, Maurie Fa’asavalu; Iosefa Tekori, Teofilo Paulo; Anthony Perenise, Ole Avei, Sakaria Taulafo.

Replacements: Motu Matu’u, Viliamu Afatia, Census Johnston, Faifili Levave, Alafoti Faosiliva, Vavao Afemai, Mike Stanley, Fa’atoina Autagavaia.

United States: Blaine Scully; Takudzwa Ngwenya, Seamus Kelly, Thretton Palamo, Chris Wyles (capt); AJ MacGinty, Mike Petri; Samu Manoa, Andrew Durutalo, Al McFarland; Greg Peterson, Hayden Smith; Titi Lamositele, Zach Fenoglio, Eric Fry.

Replacements: Phil Thiel, Oli Kilifi, Chris Baumann, Cameron Dolan, Danny Barrett, Shalom Suniula, Folau Niua, Brett Thompson.

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Neil Treacy

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