Manu Samoa have announced their side to take on the Los Pumas for their second match of the Rugby World Cup in France this weekend.
Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua has made three changes to the Manu’s starting side that secured a bonus point 43-10 victory over Chile last weekend.
In the front row James Lay and Seilala Lam retain their starting spots. However, Co-Captain Michael Alaalatoa is moved to the bench to make way for Paul Alo-Emile.
The second change comes by way of moving last weekend’s Player of the Match Theodore McFarland to blindside flanker, while Brian Alainu’uese comes into the starting line-up to pair with Co-Captain Chris Vui as locks. Taleni Seu had started against Chile at No6 but joins Alaalatoa on the bench this weekend.
Fritz Lee and Steven Luatua keep their starting jerseys and complete the loose froward trio with McFarland.
The third change is in the backline where Ben Lam has recovered from injury to start at wing in place of Danny Toala. Lam will make a highly anticipated international debut against a quality Los Pumas outfit.
Last weeks try scorer Jonathan Taumateine stays at halfback. He keeps his combination with Christian Leali’ifano at first five-eight. The two will be in charge of steering the Samoan ship around the paddock come Saturday morning.
The centre combination of Tumua Manu and Ulupano Junior Seuteni remains and the impressive Duncan Paia’aua will run out again at fullback with Nigel Ah Wong completing the back three connection.
Mapusua has made several changes to his impact players and supporting cast on the bench.
Veteran Samoan international and Sevens Skipper, Melani Matavao, is named as the replacement halfback. This will be the most popular decision this week as he is one of just three local boys on the side.
Lima Sopoaga is unavailable due to injury which gives the opportunity to Alai D’Angelo Leuila. The Waikato man played quality rugby in Samoa’s World Cup warm-up matches.
Jordan Lay, brother of James, misses out from the side and is replaced by Charlie Faumuina on the bench.
Sam Slade and Ed Fidow don’t make the 23 this weekend as Taleni Seu and Danny Toala are dropped from the starting side to the bench.
Several Samoan fans have made the trip across to Europe to watch their national side live at the Rugby World Cup. A win over Argentina will place Samoa in a good position to make it out of the pool stages.
Samoa is featuring one of its strongest sides in a Rugby World Cup and have high hopes to break the drought of making it to the Cup Quarterfinal, which the side has not achieved since 1999.