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May scores four as Samoa beat France to advance

Toa Samoa are through to face Tonga in the quarterfinals after beating France 62-4 on Monday morning, with Panthers wing Taylan May scoring four tries in the win. 

May scored a hat-trick in the first half and added another in the second, equaling David Nofoaluma's record for most tries in a match for Samoa, before being rested for the final half hour of the match in Warrington. 

Although Samoa scored after just three minutes, and the final scoreline is evidence of a dominant win, the opening exchanges were absorbing and France showed they were up for the fight, with some nice goal-line stands defensively.

But the physical toll of tackling the star-studded Samoa pack appeared to show midway through the first half, and at that point May caught fire, with three tries, all of which were converted by Stephen Crichton, giving Samoa a 28-0 lead at the break.  

Another six tries in the second period blew the final scoreline out. 

The result means Samoa finish second in Group A and advance to face traditional rivals Tonga in the first round of the knockout stages

Match Snapshot 

  • Taylan May scored four tries in a 45-minute stint on the wing, and in total Penrith players accounted for 42 of Samoa's 62 points. 
  • Roosters teenage sensation Joseph Suaali'i enjoyed a strong game at the back, with three try involvements and 141 metres. 
  • It was a tidy performance from Samoa, who missed only 10 tackles and made six errors. 
  • Tim Lafai got the scoring going on three minutes, followed by Brian To'o in the 16th. 
  • May then took over and scored his side's next four tries, all of which were converted, to give Matt Parish's team a 28-0 lead at the break. 
  • To'o secured his double six minutes into the second half.
  • Fouad Yaha got one back for the French a short time later, but Samoa quickly returned serve with tries to Anthony Milford and another for Lafai.
  • Chanel Harris-Tavita then pounced on a loose ball to score his fourth try at Test level and third in two games. 
  • Milford carved France's left edge to bits for his second seven minutes from time with a trademark dummy and run.

Play of the Game 

One of the best team tries of the tournament so far. A late offload from Ligi Sao set Jarome Luai free on a weaving run, with his tackle break and offload finding Danny Levi whose pace was too much for France through the middle. Taylan May popped up to take the last pass and score his fourth try of the game. 

What They Said

"Pretty happy to win any Test match by that scoreline. I thought our forwards were enormous, particularly that first 20 minutes, they certainly laid the platform, and we have got some backs that can capitalise on that and they certainly did." - Samoa coach Matt Parish. 

"I don't want that scoreline to summarise our World Cup. We have to put the scoreboard in context. Samoa won the ruck all the time and we couldn't control it, and they are hard to handle. We will keep on building- [for the next World Cup]." - France coach Laurent Frayssinous

What's Next

Samoa are through as the second-placed team in Group A and will play Tonga in the quarters, in what shapes as one of the games of the tournament. For France the 2021 tournament comes to an end, although they'll take plenty of positives from their performances ahead of hosting the tournament in 2025. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.