Tuala set up his team’s first try after returning a clearance kick with interest and off-loading to his captain, Alesana Tuilagi, for the score. And five minutes later Tuilagi was repaying Tuala in kind, spotting the full back in space on the right wing before sending over a neat chip that took out the Eagles’ defence.
Those two tries combined with 11 points from fly half Patrick Fa’apale to give Samoa a healthy 21-3 lead at the break.
But any thoughts that Samoa would run away with the contest were dispelled in the second half as the USA fought back manfully. Penalties saw them inch their way back into contention before a 74th-minute converted try set up a grandstand finish.
However Samoa held out some late attacks from the Eagles to record a 21-16 victory.
Samoa now move north to California’s state capital, Sacramento, where they will play Fiji on Friday.
For highlights head to www.worldrugby.org/pnc