USA scored six tries to secure a bonus point 36-26 win in their WXV 2 opener at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, but they were pushed all the way by Samoa.
The Women's Eagles had quite a bit of possession early on before, with their first attack, Samoa took the lead.
It came in the seventh minute when right winger Linda Fiafia came of her flank to great effect, powerfully getting past USA scrum-half Carly Waters and running under the posts for an excellent try. Fly-half Cassie Siataga converted and it was 7-0.
USA got their first points on the board in the 14th minute when left-wing Lotte Clapp went over for a try after being set up by a neat pass by fly-half Gabriella Cantorna. The 10 could not convert and it was 7-5.
Two minutes later Samoa hooker Lulu Leuta was yellow carded after a TMO check following shoulder to head contact.
USA took advantage of the player advantage and, after some neat phases, inside-centre Atumata Hingano went over on her debut. Cantorna converted and it was 12-7.
By the time Leuta returned to the fray the score was the same and with 15 players Samoa set about causing problems, tight-head prop Rereglory Aiono with one strong run before the half-hour mark.
In the 32nd minute they scored their second try of the day when Siataga’s lovely pass set up full-back Karla Wright-Akeli who burst through to score with Cantorna converting to make it 14-12.
With the clock in the red, second-row Hallie Taufoou scored USA’s third try just before the interval after a great break from Hingano. It was unconverted and was 17-14.
USA started the second period with a bang too, right-wing Tess Feury bursting away for their bonus-point fourth try. Cantorna converted and suddenly it was 24-14.
Hingano’s impressive first cap continued as her break set up captain Kate Zackary for USA try number five which was converted by Cantorna to make it 31-14.
Rachel Johnson, the number eight, then grabbed USA’s sixth try which was unconverted, but they were 36-14 up and in control.
Samoa were not done yet though, replacement Avau Filimaua going over for their third try in the 66th minute and scrum-half Bella Milo converting to make it 36-21.
In the 74th minute they secured their own four-try bonus point when Wright-Akeli scored a five pointer, her second, to make it 36-26, but USA held on despite late pressure.