BRIGHTON: Samoa narrowly overcame USA 25-16 in their World Cup Pool B encounter in Brighton on Sunday, as the Americans were eventually punished for their ill discipline.
The Eagles gave away a succession of penalties at the breakdown as Samoa dominated possession, allowing Tusi Pisi to kick 12 points.
Tim Nanai-Williams and Ofisa Treviranus crossed for the Pacific Islanders either side of half-time.
Chris Wyles and Chris Baumann touched down in reply, but Samoa held firm.
Samoa are looking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 1995 and face South Africa in their next pool match next Saturday.
Samoa took the lead through an early penalty from Pisi and the fly-half was influential in their first try, showing great vision to send a measured grubber kick through to Nanai-Williams to touch down in the corner midway through the first half.
The Eagles lacked fluency in their game but, after another Pisi penalty, their backs showed flashes of what they are capable of when a break from AJ MacGinty and great hands from Seamus Kelly allowed Wyles to score.
As well as their high penalty county, the Eagles’ execution at the line-out was also found wanting, with several throw-ins not straight.
Samoa had won all of their four previous Tests against the USA and Stephen Betham’s side controlled both territory and possession after the break as the Eagles continued to give away penalties.
Pisi was crucial again in their second try, when another clever kick behind the USA defence was fumbled by Takudzwa Ngwenya and Treviranus eventually picked up the pieces to score.
MacGinty brought the Eagles back into the game but another Samoan penalty, kicked by Michael Stanley, allowed the team from the Pacific islands a cushion to see out the game despite Baumann crashing over in the closing stages.
Samoa now face a wounded Springboks side in Birmingham, but with Pool B wide open after Japan’s stunning victory over the two-time champions on Saturday, USA will still hold hopes of reaching the last eight for the first time.
They face Scotland in Leeds next Sunday.