USA edge Samoa
MATCH REPORT: A penalty on full-time by AJ MacGinty saw the USA snatch a 13-10 win over Samoa in an error-ridden Pacific Nations Cup clash in Suva.
The Sale Sharks flyhalf scored all of the Eagles points with a converted try and penalty in the first half and then his match-winning shot at goal at the end to keep the Americans unbeaten after two rounds.
In the build-up to the World Cup, the Eagles controlled much of the game but were rarely able to convert their dominance into points.
“We have a long way to go before the Rugby World Cup,” coach Gary Gold said.
“Samoa put us under a lot of pressure. Our set-piece didn’t function as well as I would have liked it to function and our attack as well.”
Samoa coach Steve Jackson said there were “some areas” he was pleased with but “we can’t afford to make that many mistakes in a game and not capitalise on the pressure that we had.
“Our game drivers need to put us in the right places of the field to keep our guys moving forward, so we will work on that.”
MacGinty, one of the few survivors in a vastly rearranged USA side following their 47-19 disposal of Canada last week, had them on the board with a handy penalty in the third minute.
It was a short-lived lead with Samoa striking back quickly when AJ Alatimu set Alapati Leiua up for a simple try against a non-existent defence a few minutes later.
The Americans responded with MacGinty’s try and there were no further points for more than 50 minutes when a Henry Taefu penalty brought Samoa level at 10-10 only for MacGinty to strike back to claim the win.
Samoa, surviving on scraps for most of the first-half, were denied a try to Johnny Vaili just before the break when referee Nigel Owens misheard an assistant’s call that the ball had been toed ahead and blew his whistle for a knock on.
The Pacific islanders won a bigger share of possession in the second half but there were concerns for both sides with messy lineouts and scrums as well as an inability to mount cohesive attacks.