Match Centre: Rugby World Cup Pool D: England 18-17 Samoa

Owen Farrell broke Jonny Wilkinson's points record and also had a penalty timed-out as England scraped past Samoa
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England 18-17 Samoa, Pool D, Stade Pierre-Mauroy

Danny Care scored the decisive try as England survived a scare from Samoa sealing a 18-17 victory in their final game of the group stage in the Rugby World Cup at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Saturday.

Samoa dominated the most of the encounter and even led the opening half 8-14 and just when they thought they pulled off an incredible win, Care thrashed their hopes with a 73rd minute try and skipper Owen Farrell held his nerve in kicking a crucial conversion to take his team through.

The result also meant England finished the group stage with four wins from as many matches and will now face runner up of Pool C - Fiji or Australia - in the quarter-final at Stade de Marseille on 15th October while Samoa's competition comes to an end with another close result. The winner of Japan and Argentina will join England in the quarter-finals from the group.

England made a bright start to the game as Owen Farrell and Freddie Steward breached the defence of Samoa early with eventually Manu Tuilagi, playing his first game against the country of his birth offloaded to Ollie Chessum for the opening try in the 9th minute. Farrell missed the conversion though.

Samoa had a chance to open their account but Lima Sopoaga's kick drifted wide in the 12th minute after Chessum was penalised for an infringement. Farrell inked his name in the record books as he became England's all-time top point scorer surpassing Jonny Wilkinson's tally of 1179 points with a three-pointer in the 17th minute for an infringement from Danny Toala.

However, Samoa showed great resilience as they made it a one point game by the 22nd minute when Toala went aside George Ford to find Nigel Ah Wong as the winger dived in the corner for their first points and Sopoaga kicked the conversion. The Pacific Islanders seized the lead for the first time in the game as Toala sent a diagonal kick over the head of Freddie Steward with Ah Wong collecting it as he went over the line. Sopoaga kicked the extras as Samoa extended their lead to 8-14.

Samoa thought they got their third try by the 34th minute when Tumua Manu pounced on a loose ball to set up a try for Duncan Paia'aua. Nevertheless, the try was not awarded after consulting with the TMO with replays showing Manu had a knock-on in the build up as the teams completed the opening half with a 8-14 scoreline.

Samoa extended their momentum into the second half with Sopoaga kicking a three-pointer following a high tackle from Ben Earl before Steve Borthwick called in the reinforcements. England had a try disallowed in the 56th minute when Maro Itoje went past Jonathan Taumateine allowing Joe Marchant to race through but a TMO consultation deemed Itoje had a forward pass.

Ford with his second penalty goal ensured the gap between the teams came down to 11-14 at the end of the third quarter before Paul Alo-Emile was pulled up for a dangerous tackle on Jamie George. As a Farrell penalty goal was timed out the game entered the final 15 minutes with the scoreline remaining at 11-17.

Samoa suffered a setback as they were down to 14 players temporarily by the 66th minute as Manu was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Farrell and England capitalised on the advantage as Care sprinted on the right side spotting a big gap in the Samoan defence to dive over and the England skipper made no mistake with the conversion taking his side through with a one-point margin.

Points Table: Pool D

Position Team Played Won Lost Points
1 England 4 4 0 18
2 Argentina 3 2 1 9
3 Japan 3 2 1 9
4 Argentina 4 1 3 7
5 Chile 4 0 4 0

Team line up:

England Freddie Steward, Joe Marchant, Manu Tuilagi, Owen Farrell (c), Jonny May, George Ford, Alex Mitchell; Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, Ollie Chessum, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Ben Earl.

Reserves: Theo Dan, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, George Martin, Billy Vunipola, Danny Care, Marcus Smith, Ollie Lawrence.

Samoa Duncan Paia’aua, Nigel Ah-Wong, Tumua Manu, Danny Toala, Neria Fomai, Lima Sopoaga, Jonathan Taumateine; Jordan Lay, Sama Malolo, Michael Alaalatoa (c), Sam Slade, Brian Alainu’u’ese, Theo McFarland, Fritz Lee, Steven Luatua.

Reserves: Seilala Lam, James Lay, Paul Alo-Emile, Sootala Fa’aso’o, Alamanda Motuga, Melani Matavao, Christian Leali’ifano, Miracle Faiilagi.