Rugby World Cup: Ireland come from behind to avoid colossal upset against Manu Samoa

Ireland avoided a slip-up against impressive Manu Samoa by coming from behind late on to complete their Rugby World Cup preparations with an uninspiring 17-13 win in Bayonne, France that did little to make a case for some of the fringe players.

Starting with a largely second-string but still formidable side, Ireland led early through a fine team try finished by Jimmy O'Brien but their lineout and scrum soon malfunctioned in the French rain to invite their lowly opponents into the game.

Samoa, ranked 11 places below the Six Nations Grand Slam winners, duly accepted with Duncan Paia'aua intercepting a poor Stuart McCloskey pass to run the field and Lima Sopoaga adding a conversion and penalty for a shock 10-7 halftime lead.

Sopoaga extended the advantage to six points early in the second half before Ireland cut out the errors and a Conor Murray try reduced the deficit to a point. Still Samoa kept coming, their impressive line speed causing all sorts of problems.

Ireland, who lost prop Cian Healy to a bad-looking injury, emptied their experienced bench and replacement hooker Rob Herring went over after 64 minutes to the relief of his team who survived a late Samoa surge to sneak a 13th win in a row.