It was the final game of the group stages at the Rugby League World Cup and one that Samoa took out, as they defeated France 22-6 at Perpignan.
With both sides already guaranteed places in the finals, it was a question of building momentum and it was the Samoans who built most of it, led to victory by Anthony Milford and Pita Godinet.
The forwards laid the required platform and were too much for the French defence to handle but French coach Richard Agar knows if they are to have any chance of defeating England, they need to improve astronomically.
“I thought we had enough opportunities to win the game three times,” said Agar.
The French did have their chances to win but poor errors let them down as well as some bombed tries and as a result, the Samoans capitalised when they had their chances.
“We bombed what looked like certain tries. Our skill level and our execution and the wasted plays we had in the final third of the field didn’t warrant us winning the game,” said Agar.
“It was a disappointing performance from us, particularly in the second half.
“We’ve got to improve. We did some really good things in the first 40 but the level of our performance in the second half is why the scoreboard reads like it does, will need a bit effort and a big lift for next week but if we can play our best football on the day, who knows?”.
For the Samoans, who recorded their second consecutive win, they will take on fellow in-form Island nation Fiji, in what is billed as one of the games to watch.
It was not all rosy, however, with three Samoan players placed on report – one of them twice in Sauaso Sue – and a sin-binning but despite all that, coach Matt Parish was pleased that his side got the win.
“The French are a very good team and they certainly showed some good attack but I’m immensely proud of the way my team defended and the way they worked for one another,” Parish said.
“It’s never easy to come here and win. I’m very proud.”