The final game in group A was a ´do or die´ game for the runners up spot and a chance to play Tonga in the quarter finals as Samoa took on France at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium in Warrington with Samoa the firm favourites to take the spoils.
The bookies had given France a twenty-four point start on the coupon, but Laurent Frayssinous came into the match hoping that his side, packed with Super League stars would be able to spring a shock on Toa Samoa and Matt Parish´s group of NRL players.
Many neutrals were hoping the bookies would be right to set up a mouth-watering quarter final between Samoa and Tonga.
Samoa got a perfect start with a Jarome Luai kick towards to posts being collected by Tim Lafai to dot down under the sticks. Stephen Crichton had the simplest of conversions to establish a 6-0 score line.
Great French defence on nine prevented a second Samoa try and in a tit-for-tat Arthur Romano was denied by a superb push tackle from Taylan May.
On sixteen Samoa battered their way to the line, Luai and Joseph Suaali´i instrumental in putting Brian To´o free to bowl over the tackler and score in the corner. Crichton pulled his kick wide of the near post.
Samoa were becoming totally dominant when they went in for their third try on twenty with two fabulous miss-out passes going to the hands of May to score on the overlap. Crichton added the extras for a 16-0 lead.
France couldn´t get any quality possession as Samoa dominated spending set after set defending their line.
Around the half hour mark France finally got some decent ball in the Samoa half. But hitting on the counterattack To´o broke down the middle before finding May in support to sprint forty metres and score under the sticks. Crichton added the conversion for 22-0, a hammer blow for the French as half time approached.
After the half time hooter May got his hat-trick try as Samoa again moved the ball left through hands, the winger having a simple walk in for the try. Crichton was again on target with the boot for a 28-0 half time lead.
May got his fourth on forty-three with two offloads and a pass putting the winger free with twenty metres to run to complete the try. Crichton added the conversion for 34-0, Samoa disappearing out to sight, France desperately embarrassed.
Returning the kick-off Samoa went in again with a neat passing move ending up in the hands of To´o to score from thirty metres. Crichton belted his kick between the uprights from wide, Samoa now kicking back and enjoying themselves.
France were finally on the board in fifty-two when Fouad Yaha was on hand to ground an Arthur Mourgue grubber kick to the in-goal which wasn´t dealt with by the Samoan defender. Mourgue failed to add the conversion, France avoiding the feared ´nul points´.
On sixty-two Anthony Milford made the most of a pass that went to ground and hacked it forward and then dislodged it from Matthieu Laguerre´s grip when over the line to be grounded by Milford. Crichton added the goal for 46-4.
Three minutes later normal service was resumed as Lafai carried his tackler with him to stretch and ground. Crichton was short with his conversion attempt, but Samoa had racked up fifty points with thirteen minutes remaining.
A freakish try on sixty-nine came after the ball was dislodged from Samoan hands by France but via a bounce on the ground it was picked up by Chanel Harris-Tavita to spin out of an attempted tackle and run ten to score. Crichton added the goal for 56-4.
On seventy-three Samoa added a eleventh try with fast hands finding Milford to throw a dummy, break the line and go over from thirty metres. Crichton was again on target, his ninth kick of the night, France reeling from a taking a hiding and going down by 62-4.
Next Sunday will not see a bruising encounter between Samoa and Tonga back at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium. Samoa looked a different side to the one which was so comprehensively beaten by England a fortnight ago, and France were very disappointing on the night, despite their abundance of stars. They will need to seriously up their game to compete with the big boys in the next World Cup in 2025, when they will be the hosts.
Samoa: Suaali´i, To´o (2T), Crichton (9G), Lafai (2T), May (4T), Luai, Milford (2T), Hunt, Levi, Paulo, Su´a, Sao, Kaufusi. Subs: Harris-Tavita (T), Papali´i, Taupa´u, Leniu.
France: Mourgue, Romano, Langi, Laguerre, Yaha (T), Rougé, Gigot, Dezaria, Da Costa, Springer, Jullien, Séguier, Garcia. Subs: Sangare, Pélissier, Goudemand, Puech.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 14-0, 16-0, 20-0, 22-0, 26-0, 28-0 : HT : 32-0, 34-0, 38-0, 40-0, 40-4, 44-4, 46-4, 50-4, 54-4, 56-4, 60-4, 62-4 : FT .
Lead Exchanges: Samoa.
Referee: Todd Smith.
Attendance: 6,756 at the Halliwell-Jones Stadium, Warrington.