Mate Ma'a Tonga is through to the Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals for the first time and, before turning their attention to the next goal, they plan to enjoy every moment of the historic achievement. 

With its 32-18 win over Toa Samoa in Hamilton on Saturday night, Tonga made it two wins from two at the tournament and assured itself of advancing beyond the group stage for the first time in five attempts dating back to 1995.

The victory in front of over 18,000 fans at FMG Waikato Stadium was also just the second time Tonga has tasted victory over its Pacific neighbour in a rugby league Test match, with coach Kristian Woolf happy for his men to celebrate before re-focusing for their final pool game against New Zealand.

"[Saturday night was] about enjoying the win. We've beaten Samoa only once in the last 10 years and that was in 2013, so that was a long time ago as well and some of these blokes were part of that," Woolf said.

"It's about enjoying that, and letting our hair down a little bit, after a short turnaround which is always a tough week. 

"I was pretty satisfied with all of it to be honest, I thought we played some really good footy.

"That's a win you can be really happy with for a number of reasons. It was a high-quality game of footy."

Tonga now faces the Kiwis to decide who will top Pool B and avoid having to play the winner of Pool D in the quarter-finals. New Zealand is top on points differential thanks to its 74-6 thumping of Scotland in week two.

Woolf said he was satisfied with the way his side was building, but wasn't interested in engaging in any talk about New Zealand's huge victory.

"No [I didn't see the Kiwis game], and to be honest I'm not real interested. We had a big game and I was right into that as every spectator was, so I hadn't bothered with it, no," Woolf said.

"I think we are getting a little bit better each week, we were certainly better this week than what we were last week.

"There's certainly improvement areas in it, we are going to have to be better next week as the opposition goes up a level as well.

"But we are on the right track."

Tonga owed victory over Samoa to a commanding performance from its star forward pack. Off back of it, Tonga starved Samoa of the ball and took full advantage ofits opponent's sloppy errors to score five tries.

Tonga did have to endure a nervous finish as Samoa stormed home with a pair of four-pointers in the final 15 minutes, but in the end Woolf's side had too much power and class for its Pacific rival.

A horror night for Ken Maumalo saw the giant winger make mistakes in the lead up to Tonga's first three tries, as Michael Jennings continued an incredible start to the World Cup by grabbing a double to make it five tries in two games.

The loss leaves Samoa facing a do-or-die clash with Scotland in Cairns in week three to decide who goes through to the quarter-finals as the third team from Pool B.

Samoa had battled through a first half where it had only 41 per cent of the ball to trail by a manageable 6-14 margin at the break.

Tonga peppered the line early and was on the board after 10 minutes when Jennings scooped up a Maumalo dropped bomb on his own line.

Samoa's response was swift with Jazz Tevaga burrowing to level it up at 6-6 but another lost ball handed Jennings his fifth try as this World Cup so far.

Combined with Sio Siua Taukeiaho's penalty from in front of the posts, Jennings' brace sent Tonga into the sheds with a comfortable lead.

Twelve minutes into the second stanza Tonga was at it again, making the most of Samoa's error coming out of its own 20 to score via Peni Terepo, who dragged two would-be tacklers over the line with him.

A fumble from Young Tonumaipea on the hour resulted in an offside player diving on the ball, and Tonga made full use of the ensuing set to put Ben Murdoch-Masila over from close range.

Minutes later Junior Paulo's late offload sent Ben Roberts over to give Samoa a sniff and, when Tim Lafai scored with eight minutes to go to reduce the gap to eight, the match was hanging in the balance.

But a late Manu Ma'u try put a full stop on an emphatic victory, with all eyes now turning to Tonga's much-anticipated meeting with New Zealand next week in Hamilton, with the winner assured of topping Pool B.

 

MATCH DETAILS

FMG Waikato Stadium, Hamilton 

Mate Ma'a Tonga 32 (Michael Jennings 2, Peni Terepo, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Manu Ma'u tries; Sio Siua Taukeiaho 3 conversions, penalty; Ata Hingano 2 conversions).

Toa Samoa 18 (Jazz Tevaga, Ben Roberts, Tim Lafai tries; Tim Lafai 3 conversions).

Halftime: 14-6 Tonga.

Referee: Ben Cummins (Australia).

Crowd: 18,200.