IRB Under-21 World Cup: Pool Stages: Monday, June 13Ireland U-21 29 Samoa U-21 21, Maristas RC, MendozaScorers: Ireland: Tries: Stephen Ferris 2, Dan Riordan 2; Cons: Gareth Steenson 3; Pen: SteensonSamoa: Tries: Andrew Viliamu, Mikaele Pesamino; Con: Rambo Tavana; Pens: Tavana 3
The Irish kept their chances of making the Cup semi-finals alive as they scored two tries in either half to ward off the Samoans.
Dungannon number 8 Stephen Ferris scored two of those touchdowns and put in a dominant display in the loose, despite a needless sin-binning just before the break.
The Samoans, ranked eleventh in the tournament, came out fighting and led 13-12 at half-time and 18-12 early on in the second half before the Irish took control with two tries in the closing quarter.
Samoa fly-half Rambo Tavana opened the scoring with a penalty but following two yellow cards for the Islanders, both Ferris (14 minutes) and Corinthians wing Dan Riordan (23), in his first Cup start, touched down for the Irish.
Winger Riordan, the Annaghdown native who took up the sport at 13 and has signed a Connacht development contract for 2005/06, proved an elusive runner throughout.
Nonetheless, Samoa regrouped well to snatch back a 36th-minute converted try through hooker Andrew Viliamu and a one-point lead.
Mikaele Pesamino followed up his own chip to score in the right corner for the Samoans on the restart, yet a quick penalty from Irish skipper Gareth Steenson and another try for Riordan, converted by Steenson, saw the men in green back in control.
Tavana ensured a nervous finale with a 73rd-minute to cut the gap back to one point - 22-21 - Irish supporters need not have worried as Ferris popped up to bag his second try and Steenson, the 2004 World Cup's top points scorer, added the extras to deny the Samoans a bonus point.
The win, Ireland's second of the season after a sole success against Italy in the Six Nations, leaves Steenson and company seventh in the standings.
They face tournament favourites South Africa, who are two wins for two so far, on Friday (kick-off 7.00pm Irish time, Liceo rugby club), needing a bonus point win to put themselves into the semi shake-up.
Dungannon clubman Steenson said of the Samoan game: "It was a very physical game. We knew what Samoa were going to be like, but we're very happy with the win. Our level dropped in the second half, but we were able to raise it again and get a bonus point."
Monday's Other Results:
New Zealand U-21 92 Canada U-21 7, Mendoza RC South Africa U-21 34 England U-21 16, Liceo RC Wales U-21 24 Scotland U-21 8, Maristas RCArgentina U-21 20 Australia U-21 25, Mendoza RCItaly U-21 40 France U-21 43, Liceo RC
(15) Ross McCarron (UCD)
Replacements used: Cillian Willis (UCD) for Hurley (73 mins); Not used: Joseph Merrigan (Corinthians), Ronan Loughney (Galwegians), Trevor Richardson (Buccaneers), Anthony Kavanagh (Garryowen), Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College), Mark Kettyle (Belfast Harlequins).
Coach: Mark McDermottAssistant Coach: Niall MaloneManager: David Haslett
SAMOA U-21: Brian Toa Thetadig; Mikaele Pesamino, Ekeroma Sefo, Gasolo Salima, Fautua Otto; Rambo Tavana (Capt), John Lemisio; Sonny Faata, Andrew Viliamu, Jake Grey, Julius Tafunai, James Lowrey, Stephen Sasagi, Sue Mikaele, Anthony Tuimaga.
Replacements used: Anesi Seiuli for Mikaele (7 mins), Gafa Siona for Lemisio (41-44), Fale Solomona for Lowrey (72), Kolli Mafileo for Viliamu (74); Not used: Asomaliu Faamoe, Anesi Seiuli, PJ Faaui, Timoteo Iosua.
Sin-bin: Ireland: Stephen Ferris (35 mins), Christopher Henry (72); Samoa: Anthony Tuimaga (12), Gasolo Salima (19). HT: Ireland U-21 12 Samoa U-21 13Referee: Carlo Damasco (Italy)