Samoa made it two wins from two in Pool B at the IRB Junior World Championship on Tuesday, but only after overcoming a USA side that for much of the game at the Racecourse Ground had frustrated their opponents with strong defence.
However ultimately it was Samoa’s determination to run the ball, along with their quick hands and fast feet which produced three tries to secure a 20-6 victory against an improved USA side from their opening 108-18 loss to South Africa.
Samoa’s dynamic start to the game in Wrexham looked set to produce some early points, but after defending tenaciously for some 15 minutes it was the USA who opened the scoring with a penalty from scrum half Sean Treacy.
Six minutes later Treacy, who is the son of the celebrated Ireland distance runner John Treacy, doubled his side’s advantage with a second successful kick at goal, although it was the Samoans who went in leading 7-6 at half time.
From a quickly taken penalty, Samoa moved the ball on the narrow side to set up a try for second row Levi Asifa’amatala, which fly half Ioane Sefo – who had earlier missed a penalty attempt – duly converted.
Sefo stretched that advantage with a penalty three minutes in the second half, before full back Alatasi Tupou skilfully latched onto David Masoe’s kick ahead to touch down in the corner for his second try of the tournament and to push Samoa two scores clear of USA.
With the game becoming less structured as the game approached the hour mark Samoa struck again with wing Sanele Vavae Tuilagi tore through broken defence to also score his second try in the inaugural Championship and also the final points of the game.
Samoa head coach Sogi Meleisea: “We expected to score tries against USA but they put us under a lot of pressure. We moved the ball wide but USA read it accurately. We had a lot of possession and a lot of territory but we didn’t turn it into points.”
Samoa captain Afa Aiono: “We expected a bonus point from this game. We honestly didn’t think it would be as tough as this. Their defence was very strong. We made a lot of mistakes and we have to improve before we play South Africa on Saturday.”
USA scrum half Sean Treacy: “It was a good performance by us but the name of the game is results. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a win. There are a lot of unhappy players in the squad now, but we’re encouraged ahead of our game against Scotland. They’re much more structured than Samoa and will be harder to break down.”