SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 06: Anthony Milford of Samoa celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the 2017 Pacific Test Invitational match between England and Samoa at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on May 6, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Samoa have earned themselves a semi-final berth after a physical 20-18 defeat over Tonga, replicating their rival's 2017 RLWC success on a chilly, English afternoon.

Goosebumps filled Halliwell Jones Stadium before kick-off, and not because of the cold Autumn air swilling around Warrington. The respective war dances lit a fire under both the players and crowd, clear the Quarter final wouldn't just be a match, but a war between nations.

It didn't take long before the brutal hits turned into points on-field, with a brilliant short-ball from halfback Anthony Milford sending Jaydn Su'A through a yawning gap, the back-rower leaving Will Hopoate on skates as the Dragon dove under the posts.

The passion was on show as the vocal crowd went to war with one another, so much more at stake than a winner and a loser between the pacific nations.

Tonga would strike back minutes later after the returning William Hopoate delivered an absolute bullet pass to put Daniel Tupou over in the corner untouched. The Dolphins-bound Isaiya Katoa couldn't convert, narrowing Samoa's lead to 6-4.

Jarome Luai was next to show his talent to the Warrington crowd, skipping out of one tackle before ducking through another, racing around to score under the posts, and directly in front of the Tongan conglomerate.

You could each hit around the ground as the physicality set in, but it was skill not strength that delivered Siosiua Taukeiaho with Tonga's second.

Penrith hooker Soni Luke showed Panthers fans there is life after Apisai Koroisau after dabbing a minuscule grubber through, enough for Taukeiaho to plant it down, and for Tonga to draw back to a 12-10 score.

Siosiua Taueiaho scoops up Soon Luke's grubber to score Tonga's second try of the afternoon.

Samoa were denied a Taylan May try after the ball floated forward to the winger, sending the game into half-time with a narrow two-point advantage.

The contest was tight to start the second period of play, before a Hopoate break was enough to march Tonga downfield into Samoan territory, momentarily before a Katoa penalty goal equalised the game at 12-12.

Samoan fans broke into song as Stephen Crichton lined up for a penalty goal off his own just minutes afterwards, the Penrith centre's kick edging the pacific nation ahead 14-12 before a Panthers team mate would push the score even further away.

A wayward kick from Jarome Luai was batted back and straight into the hands of Brian To'o, who touched the ball down for Samoa's third try of the afternoon, one that ultimately proved too much for Tonga after Crichton extended the lead to 20-12.

There was no quit in the Tongan team, Keaon Koloamatangi racing up to deliver a shot in hope of regaining possession only to come off second-best, limping back to his line as their defensive line refused to break.

The back-rower shook off injury fast as he scooped up. a grubber to race 40 metres down the line before a Jarome Luai ankle tap stopped the big man in his tracks.

It would open enough of a gap for Sione Katoa to race through a gap with no one in front, and with minutes left and a 20-18 scoreline, it was game on for both nations.

Tonga earned a six-again on Samoa's line with seconds left, only for Junior Paulo to dive onto a Lolohea grubber, and end Tonga's campaign in its track.

Samoa advance to a London semi-final next Sunday morning AEDT against a rampant England side that'd defeated the nation 60-6 in the tournament's opener, however it'll be a different side that faces Shaun Wane's side next week.

Samoa 20 (To'o, Su'A, Luai tries; Crichton 4 goals) def. Tonga 18 (Tupou, Taukeiaho, Katoa tries; I. Katoa 3 goals)