Head Coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua has named his match-day 23 to face Chile in Pool D at Stade de Bordeaux for Samoa’s Rugby World Cup opener this Saturday (Early hours of Sunday morning in Samoa).
Mapusua has made three changes to the starting line-up that almost toppled World No 1 Ireland two weeks ago.
Australia’s top points scorer at Rugby World Cup 2019, Christian Leali’ifano, starts at crucial fly-half position over Lima Sopoaga who is named on the bench for this first match.
Veteran Manu Samoa Captain Michael Ala’alatoa comes off the bench to start while Paul Alo-Emile will come off the bench.
Son of 1991 World Cup Manu Samoa prop Vili Ala’alatoa, Michael Alaalatoa has been named Co-Captain alongside Chris Vui who runs on for his 28th test match for Samoa.
The third change to the starting 15 that played Ireland is winger Ed Fidow who moves to the bench while Danny Toala who did not feature in the previous 23 selection is promoted to start.
Missing out on the 23 is Miracle Faiilagi who is replaced on bench by Samuel Slade.
Loose forwards Fritz Lee and Taleni Seu’s matched work rates against Ireland have secured their positions in the starting line-up
Samoa’s loose forwards will no doubt be helped by local hero and double International Thoe McFarland who wears 5 on his back but uses his basketball mobility to play as an extra loosie.
Fromer All Black Steven Luatua maintains his No8 jersey in his 4th test match for Samoa.
Scrumhalf Jonathan Taumateine who was a key part in managing the game against Ireland will be looking to have the same influence in this Rugby World Cup opener.
Possibly the best player in the backline against Ireland, Tumua Manu returns as inside centre and the designated wrecking ball for Samoa. Fans can look forward to his solid defense in the midfield where he is joined by the hard working Ulupano Junior Seuteni.
The try scorer for Samoa against Ireland, Duncan Paia’aua has secured the fulback role for Samoa with his ability to handle high balls in tricky conditions and make good metres from the red zone.
Samoa is pooled with Chile, Argentina, Japan and England.