Just One Change to Mapusua’s Starting 15 for Final RWC Qualifier Against Tonga

Alamanda Motuga of Manu Samoa during the Rugby World Cup qualifier between Tonga and Manu Samoa. (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images)

Seilala Mapusua has made just one change to his starting 15 to take on Tonga in their second and last Rugby World Cup Qualifying match.

Ed Fidow who was one of Samoa’s five try scorers last weekend has been promoted from the bench to start on the right wing. Fidow will replace Ah See Tuala who only played one half of rugby last week.

Tomasi Alosio, who started on the wing last weekend has shifted to fullback allowing debutant Losi Filipo to come into the side on the bench.

The lack of changes to the side does not come as a surprise given Samoa’s five-try 42-13 win over Ikale Tahi last week.

Last week saw an outstanding performance by Samoa’s loose trio. Alamanda Motuga, Olajuwon Noa and Henry Time-Stowers have proven a handful for teams in Samoa’s last 3 matches. Constantly winning turn over ball and putting in trade mark bone crunching tackles.

All eyes were on Time-Stowers throughout the week after he was replaced last match due to an injury. However it looks like he’s good to go as Mapusua has named him in is side.

Henry Taefu scored nearly half of Samoa’s points last weekend. With a try of his own Taefu put up 20 points, outscoring Tonga single handily.

Post match prayer time with Tongan brothers (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images)

Hooker Ray Niuia was also another standout 6 days ago. His brilliant 10 minutes after halftime shifted the momentum of the game to Samoa’s favour. Leading up to his try, he won a turnover ball for Samoa that led to a lineout, which Niuia threw to perfection

Tonga face a tough challenge to take this Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifier. Losing 42-13 last weekend means they must defeat Samoa on Saturday by 30 points in order to qualify.

The team that fails to qualify this Saturday will get another chance, by playing the Cook Islands later in the year as part of a set of repechage matches to find the last team for the Rugby World Cup.

Brian Telefoni