Samoa progressed to the World Cup quarter-finals on points difference after a 14-14 draw with Scotland in Cairns.
Scotland grabbed an early opener when the outstanding Danny Addy found Lewis Tierney with a perfectly-weighted grubber kick – but that lead lasted just six minutes; giant prop Junior Paulo too strong for the combined efforts of Callum Phillips and James Bell.
Bunty Afoa’s ball steal on 17 minutes gave the Hull KR man the chance to nudge the underdogs ahead again – and, with half an hour played, Steve McCormack’s side then made the most of a misplaced Timoteo Lafai offload 10 metres out; Featherstone’s Frankie Mariano given the nod by video referee Henry Perenara before a brilliant Addy conversion put Scotland two scores clear.
Samoa wasted a glorious chance to level two m as one-time Wakefield hooker Pita Godinet’s pass went forward to Ricky Leutele – but Matt Parish’s men did cut the gap to four within eight minutes of the restart; a valiant Matty Russell effort unable to prevent namesake Wright touching down.
A gripping last half-hour saw chances for Godinet and Wright slip away before the Bravehearts were unable to hold out after three successive sets on their line as Melbourne’s Young Tounumpea made it 14-14 with 15 minutes left.
And the two ex-Salford coaches were still locked up with nine to go, despite a ball steal from skipper Sam Tagataese on Lachlan Stein… Addy pulled the resulting penalty from 40m out, before a breathless last five saw Oscar Thomas’s drop-goal attempt sail just wide.
Inside the last 60 seconds, Addy’s drop-goal effort veered agonisingly off target. Samoa survived and will meet Australia in Darwin on Friday.