D’Angelo Leuila’s impressive night with the boot helped Samoa to defeat Canada 25-23 at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble on Friday.
Canada outscored Samoa by three tries to one, including a double for in-form wing DTH van der Merwe, but the boot of Leuila, on his first start for his country, proved to be the difference.
Paul Perez opened the scoring for Samoa with a converted try after eight minutes, and once Leuila had knocked over a drop goal not long afterwards Samoa held a commanding 10-0 lead.
Leuila and Canada fly-half Connor Braid then traded two penalties each, as Samoa went into half-time ahead 16-6.
The Samoa number ten kept up the pressure with another penalties on 52 minutes but his side were then reduced to 14 men, with Taiasina Tuifua sent to the sin-bin, as Canada capitalised on their numerical advantage by scoring through Evan Olmstead.
Canada were soon down to 14 themselves once Jamie Cudmore saw yellow but Van der Merwe’s try helped Canada close the gap to 19-16.
Samoa rallied through another Leuila drop goal and penalty to make it 25-16, before Van der Merwe’s second score came all too late to change the outcome.
Pens: Leuila 4
Drop Goals: Leuila 2
Yellow Card: Tuifua
Tries: Olmstead, Van der Merwe 2
Pens: Braid 2
Yellow Card: Cudmore
Samoa: 15 Albert Nikoro, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Winston Stanley, 11 David Lemi (c), 10 D’Angelo Leuila, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Genesis Mamea-Lemalu, 7 Greg Foe, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Chris Vui, 4 Taiasina Tuifua, 3 Logovii Mulipola, 2 Elia Elia, 1 Sakaria Taulafo
Replacements: 16 Seilala Lam, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Jeff Lepa , 20 Oneone Faafou, 21 Danny Tusitala, 22 Opetera Peleseuma, 23 Ahsee Tuala
Canada: 15 Matt Evans, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Nick Blevins, 11 Conor Trainor, 10 Connor Braid, 9 Phil Mack, 8 Admir Cejvanovic, 7 Matt Heaton, 6 Evan Olmstead, 5 Brett Beukeboom, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Rob Brouwer
Replacements: 16 Eric Howard, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Matt Tierney, 19 Conor Keys, 20 Clay Panga, 21 Andrew Ferguson, 22 Pat Parfrey, 23 Ben Lesage
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson (Ireland), Gary Conway (Ireland)