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Samoa set up Tonga clash after France win

Fouad Yaha of France is tackled by Stephen Crichton and Jaydn Suâ'a of Samoa Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Samoa barely broke sweat as they crushed France in a 62-4 Rugby League World Cup win to set up a mouth-watering World Cup quarter-final with Pacific rivals Tonga.

Winger Taylan May returned from injury to score four tries as Matt Parish's side guaranteed themselves a spot in the knockout stages for the third consecutive tournament.

Anthony Milford, Brian To'o and Tim Lafai also grabbed tryscoring doubles in a 11-try rout which resulted in Stephen Crichton kicking nine conversions.

The Samoans looked a different side to the one which was trounced by England in the tournament opener.

But they have not beaten Tonga in a Test match since 2016 and were thumped in their last World Cup meeting in 2017.

In front of 6,756 fans at the Halliwell Jones Stadium - the site of next Sunday's (Monday AEDT) meeting with the Tongans - Samoa were impressive throughout to ensure they finished second behind England in group A.

Everything that could go wrong for the French did.

First-choice fullback Morgan Escare pulled out before kick-off to force halfback Arthur Mourgue into the No.1 slot.

Left centre Samisoni Langi and winger Arthur Romano both came off with first-half injuries.

It allowed Samoa to run away to a 28-0 lead at half-time as they cut swathes down the right edge vacated by Romano, May scoring a first-half hat-trick down the flank.

Lafai and To'o followed him across the whitewash before the break and May added a fourth after half-time.

The French were able to briefly stop the rot when winger Fouad Yaha dived on a grubberkick to the in-goal in the second half.

But Milford, Lafai, To'o and Chanel Harris-Tavita further strengthened Samoa's control to set up the quarter-final against Tonga.