Kane and able: Kane Thompson scores Samoa's third try

SAINT-ETIENNE, 26 September - Samoa have restored some pride and avoided finishing bottom of Pool A with a 25-21 victory over USA in an entertaining match at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Wednesday.

With neither team able to make the quarter-finals, Samoa decided to throw caution to the wind and played an expansive game.

The relaxed Pacific Islanders delighted the fans at Saint-Etienne with their free-flowing rugby but also made plenty of errors, failing to show patience with ball in hand and missing several try-scoring opportunities.

USA looked rusty following a 14-day break between matches and were always going to struggle to recover from a 22-3 half-time deficit. However, they rallied in the second half just falling short.

Samoa wings Lome Fa'atau (fifth minute) and Alesana Tuilagi (ninth minute) and second row Kane Thompson (37th minute) crossed in the first half to hand their team a 19-point lead at the break.

Early in the second half Samoa continued to find holes in the defence but their execution let them down and USA scored in the 53rd minute through electrifying wing Takudzwa Ngwenya.

He stepped Tuilagi and showed blistering pace to score an impressive solo try, despite team-mate and Eagles number 8 Fifita Mounga being in the sin-bin for a professional foul.

USA fly half Mike Hercus converted a tough attempt to reduce the gap to 22-10.

Mounga was stretchered off the field in the 64th minute with his neck in a brace.

The Eagles managed to close the gap with two Hercus penalty goals but Samoa full back Loki Crichton also added a crucial three points.

Louis Stanfill scored a late try in the second half to narrow the gap to four points.

RNS djp/gs