Samoa vs Tonga RLWC2021

Samoa will tackle England in the World Cup semi-finals after upsetting 20-18 Tonga in a classic encounter at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

In a pulsating match at Warrington, Samoa edged their neighbours in a thrilling fixture that had everything.

Toa Samoa are now through to the semi-finals for the first time in history.

They started positively when Jaydn Su’a touched down, running a great line off Anthony Milford.

Stephen Crichton converted to give them a 6-0 lead.

But three minutes later Tonga hit back when Daniel Tupou crossed from William Hopoate’s pass.

Isaiya Jatoa couldn’t convert from the sideline, so it remained 6-4.

In the 16th minute Jarome Luai beat a tackle and stepped his way over.

Crichton added the extras to make it 12-4.

Just before half time Sio Sua Tuakeiaho won the race to Soni Luke’s perfectly placed grubber kick.

The conversion tied the score to 12-10 at the break.

In the second half a penalty goal from Katoa saw Tonga tie it up.

But in the 56th minute a Crichton penalty goal edged them ahead by two points again.

Two minutes later Samoa went further ahead, when a Luai kick was not handled by the Tonga defence and Brian To’o pounced.

Crichton’s key conversion made it 20-12.

The game looked over but then Moses Suili sensationally broke through the middle and found Sione Katoa in support to score.

Katoa’s kick cut it back to 20-18.

The Mate Ma’a tried to find a late winner, in a tense final few minutes, but Samoa held on to get the win and make history.

Tonga 18

Tries: D. Tupou (8), S. Taukeiaho (33), S. Katoa (71)

Goals: I. Katoa (34), I. Katoa (50), I. Katoa (72)

Samoa 20

Tries: J. Su’a (5), J. Luai (17), B. To’o (59)

Goals: S. Crichton (6), S. Crichton (19), S. Crichton (57), S. Crichton (60)

John is a freelance journalist who has been writing about rugby league for the past decade. He covered the 2013 and 2017 World Cups, has appeared on TV and radio, and been published in The I-Paper, The Guardian, The Sun, The Mirror, League Express, Inside Sport magazine and Big League. He writes regularly for Forty-20 magazine, League Weekly and co-hosts the podcasts By the Balls and Six To Go.