Welsh record try scorer Shane Williams broke the hearts of Samoans with a try that proved the difference in a 17-10 WC win in Hamilton.
Samoa led 10-6 at the break and came close to scoring from close range in the last five minutes, but credit to Wales for courage and discipline on defence. Welsh captain Sam Warburton was again the stand out forward and Samoa’s No 8 George Stowers also excelled.
Both teams succeeded in slowing down the other’s ball and there was very little quick recycle and because of this there was very little inspirational on attack. There was also no fluidity to a game that was all crash and bash.
Second half replacement Lee Halfpenny provided the significant moment when he beat three tackles from a kick-off, ran 60 metres, offloaded to outside centre Jonathan Davies and onto Williams who strolled over. Rhys Priestland missed the conversion but a minute before the Halfpenny break he had kicked his second penalty to give Wales the lead for only the second time in the game.
A concerted forward effort produced Samoa’s only try two minutes into stoppage time in the first half, but they couldn’t reproduce the effort in the final five minutes.