Samoa Names Strong Side to Take on the Ikale Tahi


Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua has named a strong squad to take on the Ikale Tahi this weekend at Apia Park.

Eleven changes have been made to the starting team lost 33-19 to Fiji last weekend, as Mapusua continues the search for his perfect 15 as the Rugby World Cup approaches.

Ex All Black Charlie Faumuina is promoted from the bench to the starting side replacing Jordan Lay at loose head prop.

At tight head prop, Manu Samoa’s captain Michael Alaalatoa makes his awaited return to the side. Alaalatoa was serving a suspension he picked up while playing for his Irish club Leinster.

Samoa’s skipper replaces Paul Alo-Emile who will come off the bench.

Sama Malolo has earned himself a starting role at hooker after an impressive stint off the bench last weekend. Malolo subbed on in the first half following an injury to Ray Niuia.

Replacing Niuia and reserve hooker is Moana Pasifika hooker Luteru Tolai.

Chris Vui retains his starting lock spot and will be paired with Brian Alainu’uese, who came off the bench against Fiji.

Loose forward / Lock Taleni Seu, who has been Samoa’s best in their last two matches, has been given a rest this week.

The new name is hometown hero Theordore McFarland of the Moamoa Roosters, who will play his first rugby match since injuring his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) against Italy last November. McFarland will look to run on off the bench this weekend.

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Speaking of hometown heros, Miracle Fai’ilagi will play his second test for the Manu and first test match on home soil, starting at blindside flanker.

Last time Fai’ilagi played at Apia Park was for Moana Pasifika where he scored himself a double.

Ex All Black Steven Luatua is moved from blindside to No. 8 with last week’s captain Fritz Lee falling to the bench.

Completing Samoa’s loose forwards trio is Jack Lam at open side flanker who keeps his No7 jersey.

This week Samoa will have a new 9 & 10 pairing to steer the ship against Tonga.

Jonathan Taumateine returns at halfback, while D’Angelo Leuila is propelled from the bench to replace Christian Leali’ifano at 10.

Leali’ifano looks to come off the bench and Ereatara Enari misses out on this week’s match giving way to the popular Manu Samoa 7’s captain Melani Matavao named as the reserve halfback.

To the midfield we have the pairing of Duncan Paia’aua and Ulupano Seuteni.

This was the midfield combination Manu Samoa had against Japan. The more game time this pair have together, the sharper they’ll be, come world cup time.

Samoa have a new fullback in veteran Tim Nanai-Williams. He replaces Moana Pasifika utility Danny Toala.

Tumua Manu is another name missing from this week’s list as he is replaced by speedster Ed Fidow on the left wing.

Nigel Ah Wong secures his 14 jersey making up the back 3 for Samoa.

The two other bench named players are winger Neria Fomai and prop Titi Lamositele named as the only Debutant on the side.

The Pacific Nations Cup is out of reach for both sides making this upcoming match all about pride and bragging rights.

Daniel M Limā