England vs. Samoa result, highlights as Stephen Crichton golden-point drop goal seals historic Rugby League World Cup final spot

Samoa made history and sealed 2021 Rugby League World Cup revenge as Stephen Crichton’s golden-point drop goal saw them stun England at the Emirates Stadium with a 27-26 victory to reach their maiden tournament final.

Matt Parish’s men were ruthlessly dismantled by their hosts last month in a bruising 60-6 defeat at St James’ Park, with an undercooked performance that suggested their dark-horse credentials were already dead in the water.

But a fine resurgence across the past few weeks, capped by a thrilling quarter-final win over Tonga, was topped in north London with one of the great RLWC vengeance tales as they held their nerve to break English hearts.

Shaun Wane’s side, imperious in Newcastle and prone to delivering blowout results across this tournament, saved arguably their worst performance for the biggest stage yet — and for the second time in three tournaments, it was shattered hopes in the capital that they had to show for their efforts.

Their loss sends new blood into the RLWC final for the first time in generations and sets up an absolutely enthralling finale at Old Trafford with Australia for a worthy Toa Samoa side.

They started the brighter of the two teams with Tim Lafai — drafted into the squad after injuries sustained in the opener — nabbing a brace, while Crichton himself picked up a score around Ligi Sao’s simple finish.

Elliot Whitehead — Herculean in defence — nabbed a comeback score, as did John Bateman, but their tries came more from mistakes made by Samoa than the silky England power displayed in prior games.

When Crichton picked off a pass to breakaway in the dying stages, he looked to have sealed the deal, but Herbie Farnworth’s own long-range response set up a golden-point finale.

There, despite Whitehead charging down a first attempt, England’s mistakes cost them again and Crichton’s superb one-pointer helped rewrite rugby league history in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Luai pulls the strings

There has been little doubting Samoa’s pack power this tournament, and it was there for all to see as they boxed England back early on in London.

But it was Jarome Luai — the Penrith Panthers half-back much maligned for his poor performance in Newcastle — who really came to the fore, offering his side the creative platform they needed and steering them through the hard yards.

Hill falls just short of history

An unfashionable pick pre-tournament, veteran prop Chris Hill has not let England down from the front, and he was one of their more bullish performers again in the pack.

But defeat here means he comes up short of matching Australia legend Cameron Smith’s all-time record for RLWC appearances in gutting fashion.

MORE: ‘Knocked the door down’: Cameron Murray praises Australian forward pack after scoring match-winning try

The Sporting News followed the match live, providing score updates and commentary below.

England vs. Samoa final score

  1H 2H ET Final
England 6 20 0 26
Samoa 10 16 1 27

Tries: Whitehead, Bateman, Farnworth (2); Lafai (2), Sao, Crichton (2)

Conversions: Makinson (4); Crichton (3)

Penalties: Makinson

Drop Goal: Crichton

England vs. Samoa commentary, highlights from Rugby League World Cup

FT: Samoa are only just leaving the field now, having held prayer together in a circle. The pocket of fans they have here are absolutely raucous – and they deserve to be. What a day. What a history-making day. Thank you for joining us – and we’ll see you in Manchester next week.

FT: Make that a half-century of hurt then. Samoa were woeful in Newcastle, let’s not kid ourselves, but England seldom put a foot wrong that day too. Here, they picked a few wrong passes and bombed a few chances. The Watkins shortfall. The Young drop. They have haunted them today. The wait goes on.

FT: For England – well, where to start. Nine years ago, they lost in last-gasp circumstances after an error in their own half during the RLWC semi-finals against New Zealand. There’s something about last-four matches in London that just don’t wash for them. Shaun Wane’s men will be wrecked. They saved their most flawed performance of the tournament for today – and they have paid for it.

FT: You cannot – you absolutely cannot! – understate what this does to rugby league. For generations, it has been the tier one nations who have controlled this tournament; Australia, New Zealand, England. Tonga almost broke the glass ceiling five years ago; now, Toa Samoa have smashed it.

FT: Absolutely incredible. How do you sum that up? Samoa, bruised, battered and broken by their opening encounter with England in this tournament. They had to call players up late. One of them, Tim Lafai, scored a double today. Another, Ligi Sao, wasn’t in the original squad too.

FT: What an unbelievable finish! England, RLWC2021 hosts, are OUT. Samoa, absolutely destroyed by their opponent in Newcastle at the very dawn of this tournament, are IN. They will face Australia next Saturday at Old Trafford!

FT: England 26-27 Samoa! Unbelievable scenes! Samoa’s bench fly onto the pitch! England drop to their knees! Stephen Crichton – the goal-kicking centre, whose breakaway score late in the second half looked to have got them over the line – makes history with a dramatic golden-point drop-goal!

84 mins: DROP GOAL: England 26-27 Samoa! STEPHEN CRICHTON SENDS SAMOA TO THE 2021 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP FINAL!

83 mins: Forward pass against England! It’s a fair call but an absolute wrencher too – Tomkins drifts it in front out of dummy half, and the referee immediately flags him for it. Samoa get the ball back in opposition territory!

82 mins: CHARGEDOWN! Whitehead stops the Samoa drop-goal attempt! The back-rower has run his blood to water!

81 mins: Jack Welsby! What a howler! The England half-back tries to play cute and drops the ball in his own half!

ETKO: Here we go then – playing the same way as we did in the second half. Samoa kick off.

FT: England 26-26 Samoa – WE GO TO GOLDEN POINT!

78 mins: TRY: England 26-26 Samoa! Farnworth with the breakaway finish! It is Williams – head and shoulders above his team-mates as a creative spark – who finds the gap, and the centre races home to the left edge! Makinson converts!

73 mins: TRY: England 20-26 Samoa! Crichton surely breaks English hearts! The hosts are looking to force the overlap on the left edge, and the Penrith Panthers man picks off the pass to race away! Nobody can get near him – and he crosses for what might just be the winner in London! He converts.

68 mins: PENALTY: England 20-20 Samoa! Makinson slots it from close-range – and we are all square in London!

67 mins: An England penalty! Samoa use their captain’s challenge, but it is unsuccessful, having tried to deny a late hit on Tomkins. Makinson will go for goal.

64 mins: TRY: England 18-20 Samoa! Herbie Farnworth gives the hosts a shot of hope straight to the heart! The centre manages to bounce off a gaggle of defenders and somehow get over the line on the left flank! Makinson converts – we’re down to a two-point game!

64 mins: Fine margins for England! A kick to the corner for Young just drops dead in-goal, with the video referee confirming the call. They are running out of time to turn this one around with an eight-point gap.

61 mins: There’s 40,489 in here today, and they get a set of handbags after Sam Tomkins and Luai spare a flare-up. There’s no further action in the end, the referee determined to keep matters on an even keel. England force a drop-out moments later after a Samoa handling error.

57 mins: TRY: England 12-20 Samoa! Double delight for Lafai! He bags a brace as England promptly shoot out of the line, misread the play and leave a gaping hole. Rookie errors are sending the hosts out of RLWC2021. That might be the try that wins this game for Toa Samoa. Crichton misses the conversion.

55 mins: Oh, what an absolute howler from Young! Under very little pressure, he drops Jarome Luai’s kick on the last. The half-back has been pulling the strings for Samoa, but that is a monster mistake from the England wing. Could it be the match-killer?

52 mins: That Crichton try will go down as one of the all-time RLWC greats, no matter the result here today. (It will likely be remembered even more if Samoa see this one out.) England’s hopes to assert themselves on this game are in tatters again.

49 mins: TRY: England 12-16 Samoa! Pure basketball from Toa Samoa and they hit the front again! On the last, a succession of desperate late offloads somehow keeps the ball alive and Crichton crosses on the right flank. He converts.

45 mins: TRY: England 12-10 Samoa! Just what the doctor ordered for the hosts! Samoa make a hash of a short drop-kick ball from Williams on the last, and John Bateman is there to snatch and dot down! Makinson converts.

41 mins: We’re back underway at the Emirates Stadium, and England have it all to do. Shaun Wane will have stripped paint off the walls with his team-talk, you imagine – but will that solve his side’s fragile sense of self in this second half?

HT: What do you call deja vu for something that never happened? This is exactly the kind of game, the kind of scoreline so many were predicting ahead of kick-off in Newcastle last month. Now, it has been delivered by Samoa, who have been terrific value for their performance. Could they reach a first ever showpiece finale in this tournament?

HT: England 6-10 Samoa! Tries for Tim Lafai and Ligi Sao – men not even in the original squad for Matt Parish! – means Toa Samoa lead the tournament hosts in London, and have one foot in the RLWC2021 final! It has been England’s softest performance so far under Shaun Wane – they have a mountain to climb, despite just a four-point gap.

35 mins: There have been few penalties against England, and plenty against Samoa. But as the apocalyptic visage of Shaun Wane might suggest, they have been strong-armed in every other area today. Kaufusi has passed his HIA, in a big boost for Matt Parish too.

31 mins: TRY: England 6-10 Samoa! That is an absolute defensive horror-show from the hosts! Watkins and Young are both taken in by Sao’s dummy, and the big man simply slides over the whitewash despite their belated attentions! Crichton converts.

29 mins: Oh, Dom Young! That could have been a big chance for the flying winger, who can’t take in a dropped Samoa ball. England will still get another set however, with the referee deeming advantage in their favour.

25 mins: TRY: England 6-4 Samoa! What a dummy from George Williams! The half-back attacks the Samoa line – so solid today – and slips through off a defensive misread. Whitehead pops up in support and takes the flat ball to finish next to the posts. Makinson converts.

23 mins: Paulo returns to the field and Samoa can breathe a sigh of relief. They have weathered a man disadvantage without concession. They’ll hope those HIA calls prove favourable too, but right now, it is they who have the upper hand in this contest.

20 mins: Oh, what a golden chance for England that slips like sand! The groans around the Emirates Stadium can tell you Samoa have pulled off a magnificent read. Kallum Watkins busts the tackle and looks to be through, but loses control as he goes to ground it. The video referee confirms it is a no-try.

18 mins: Jaydn Su’a almost slips the net on what looks to be a loose forward pass for Samoa, but Elliot Whitehead promptly turfs him into touch regardless. England starting to look a little more sure-footed after being stung early on.

15 mins: Further trouble for Samoa here, though it is nobody’s fault – two of their men clash heads as they get a tackle on Tommy Makinson wrong. It is Fa’amanu Brown who absolutely crumples, though he thankfully sits back up shortly after. That is going to be a HIA for him and Oregon Kaufusi, the man he smashed into.

13 mins: Now that’s not a smart move from Junior Paulo, as the Samoa captain spins Tom Burgess upside down in the tackle and drops him on his head. Referees have let plenty go in this tournament – but not this time! It’s a yellow card and he is in the sin bin.

10 mins: The yards are just coming all too easily for Samoa so far this match. This is the power of that pack – battered, bruised but so utterly bent on revenge and with the ballast to back up their claims. England just haven’t got on the front foot here, though Ligi Sao spills a short pass to ease the pressure.

6 mins: TRY: England 0-4 Samoa! First blood to the theoretical underdogs! Despite some wayward kicking early doors, a six-again call puts Toa Samoa on the front foot, with their pack pushing deep – and then a simple spread to Tim Lafai puts the centre over on the left! Stephen Crichton misses the conversion.

5 mins: Five minutes in and this is shaping up to be an absolute bruiser for England. With Samoa’s capitulation in Newcastle, they have had few games where metres have been made easily against them. But the opposition pack is getting on the front foot very swiftly here.

KO: The whistle goes, Samoa swing the boot – and we are underway in this RLWC2021 semi-final!

5 mins to KO: A terrific Siva Tau from Samoa caps off formalities. England stand firm in the face of the traditional dance. It is terrific stuff. Almost time. History awaits.

10 mins to KO: A spontaneous burst of applause rings out around the Emirates Stadium after The Last Post. Both national anthems stir the heart – Samoa’s players look close to tears, and London echoes with England’s gusto.

15 mins to KO: On Remembrance Weekend, wreaths will be laid to rest ahead of kick-off today, along with the usual formalities. The crowd is starting to fill up in north London – it will be interesting to see how many are in here when they call the attendance.

30 mins to KO: The teams are in and there is only one change for the hosts – Luke Thompson replaces Matty Lees on the bench. But Danny Levi’s absence is a blow for Samoa – Fa’amanu Brown is drafted into hooker for them.

45 mins to KO: But if there is a team with a point to prove, it is Toa Samoa. They were well off the pace in that opener, but have rallied since to impress, including a thrilling quarter-final win over Tonga. Injuries have played their part, more so than against England – could that be decisive today?

60 mins to KO: Even those who have been living under a rock will know what this is. It is the rematch of the year – England vs Samoa, Pt. II. Last month, Shaun Wane’s hosts wrecked Matt Parish’s undercooked men at St James’ Park. Today? It is anyone’s guess which way the wind will blow.

75 mins to KO: Here we are then. Three remain – and soon, it will just be two. Australia are already headed to the RLWC2021 final, after a 16-14 thriller with New Zealand. But who will join the defending champions at Old Trafford next weekend?

90 mins to KO: Hello and welcome to live coverage of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, as England and Samoa meet in the second semi-final at the Emirates Stadium in London!

England vs. Samoa lineups

How to watch England vs. Samoa: TV channel, live stream

  UK Australia New Zealand
TV channel BBC One Foxtel Spark Sport
Streaming BBC iPlayer Foxtel Go Spark Sport

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