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Samoa resist early pressure before racing into South African final
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Samoa resisted an early storm to triumph 39-10 over Italy and reach the Quadrangular Tournament final in South Africa on Saturday.
Italy enjoyed dominance in the opening exchanges but had nothing to show for their efforts as they entered the interval trailing 10-3, before early second-half tries tipped the balance in Samoa's favour.
The Italian forward line stepped up to the challenge early on, winning two scrums and making strong territorial advances.
However, the recalled fly-half Luciano Orquera squandered his first penalty attempt midway through the half before Samoa turned the tables with captain Paul Williams breaking out.
Fly-half Tusi Pisi carried the ball forward and burst through the Italian defence before returning the ball to centre Williams who subsequently opened the scoring and adding his own extras.
Orquera managed to dissect the uprights at the second time of asking to get the Italians on the scoreboard before Williams restored the seven-point advantage moments later.
Italy were desperate to reduce the deficit after the interval but two Samoan tries in 13 minutes saw the Pacific islanders build an unassailable lead.
Pisi's cross-field kick allowed Alapati Leiua to evade two Azzurri defenders on his way over the line before the Samoa pivot turned provider as Johnny Leota raced under the posts uncontested.
Things only got worse for Italy as No. 8 Taiasina Tuifu'a crossed the line before Brando Va'aulu added a fifth and final try to secure Samoa's place in the tournament final.
Italy's lone consolation came with 10 minutes left to play when Leiua was sin binned and a penalty try was awarded in favour of the Azzurri.
South Africa face Scotland in the Mbombela Stadium in the second part of the weekend's double-header, with the hosts the most likely final opponents for Samoa next Saturday in Pretoria.