Progress in the competition was up for grabs as Samoa faced Scotland in a ‘winner goes through game at Barlow Park in Cairns. The winners would likely face Australia in the quarter finals with the losers packing their bags and heading home.
Scotland were without captain Danny Brough, who had been sent home from the World Cup after a post-match incident last weekend. After conceding one hundred and twenty four points in their opening two fixtures the Scots were the firm underdogs.
With just four minutes on the clock Lewis Tierney won the race to ground an Addy chip over the top as the Samoan defenders failed to deal with the bouncing ball. Danny Addy guided the ball between the uprights for 6-0 lead.
On eleven the Samoans opened their account when Junior Paulo powered over the Scottish line carrying three tacklers with him. Matthew Wright added the goal to level the scores.
Danny Addy kicked a seventeenth minute penalty to regain the leads for the Scots. On twenty-seven Frankie Mariano took the ball off Tim Lafai as he tried to pass in his own twenty and went twenty to dive over. Addy kicked a terrific conversion from wide for an eight point lead.
After the Samoans bombed a try opportunity on thirty nine after a clumsy forward pass, Coach Steve McCormack will have been delighted with the Bravehearts first half performance and hoping for more if the same in the second.
On forty-eight Samoa registered the first points of the second half when Wright evaded the Scotland tackle to dive over by the right corner flag off a Joey Leilua pass. Wright was unable to convert his own try.
It was all too east on sixty-six when Young Tonumaipia found a big hole in the Scotland defence to walk through. Wright failed to kick the extras and the scores were tied up at 14-14.
A seventy-second Samoa minute ball steal gave Addy a forty metre penalty opportunity which he pulled left of the uprights. An Oscar Thomas attempted drop goal from thirty metres a couple of minutes later also went wide.
Addy attempted another forty metre drop goal with a minute remaining and it signalled Scotland’s Edit from the competition on points difference. The draw suited Samoa but Scotland can holds their heads high after a much improved performance. The chances were there in the dying minutes but Scotland were unable to make them count and snatch the win.
It’s Samoa into a quarter final match with Australia and they will need to be much better to avoid a humiliation.
Samoa: Tonumaipia, Leutele, Lafai, Leilua, Wright (T, G), Luai, Brown, Junior Paulo, Tevaga, Ese’ese, Papalii, Winterstein, Afoa. Subs: Godinet, Joseph Paulo (T), Mau, Tagataese.