England: (8) 18Tries: Chessum, Care Pens: Farrell 2 Cons: FarrellSamoa (14) 17Tries:Ah-Wong 2 Pens: Sopoaga Cons: SopoagaA sluggish England outlasted a bruising, brilliant Samoa performance to head to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a full house of Pool D wins.
Danny Care’s 73rd-minute dart from the base of a scrum was the decisive score in an 18-17 victory.
However, his team’s credentials as possible contenders for the title will have been badly dented as they were pushed all the way by a team whose only previous tournament win came against Chile.
The underdogs led 17-8 going into the second half and could have been further clear, seeing a third try ruled out for the faintest of knock-ons.
Samoa could yet have snatched a sucker-punch victory as they swept upfield only to spill forward five metres short in the penultimate play of the game.
More to follow.
England: Steward; Marchant, Tuilagi, Farrell (capt), May; Ford, Mitchell; Genge, George, Cole, Itoje, Chessum, Lawes, Curry, Earl.
Replacements: Dan, Marler, Sinckler, Martin, Vunipola, Care, Smith, Lawrence.
Samoa: Paia’aua; Ah Wong, Manu, Toala, Fomai; Sopoaga, Taumateine; Jordan Lay, Malolo, Alaalatoa, Slade, Alainu’u’ese, McFarland, Lee, Luatua.
Replacements: Lam, James Lay, Alo-Emile, Fa’aso’o, Motuga, Matavao, Lealiifano, Fai’ilagi.