Manu Samoa Head Coach, Namulauulu Alama Ieremia has named his team to play the Flying Fijians at Apia Park tomorrow afternoon.
“We have selected a team we believe can counter a strong Fijian side that will be full of confidence.
“We have had a couple of disruptions with players in and out, but the team has continued seamlessly with its preparations this week,” said Namulauulu.
“The entire squad have rallied together strongly to ensure we can put our best performance forward after our narrow loss against Tonga.”
He further noted that amidst all the misinformation and lack of understanding in the public, Manu Samoa are a win away from winning the PNC and qualifying for the World Cup this weekend.
“Obviously a loss against Tonga was a setback for Manu Samoa, however qualification for the World Cup as Oceania 2 and and the PNC title for 2017 are still worthy causes to play for, let alone to secure a much needed win for the team and the Samoan people.”
The Head Coach explained the current points table for the PNC sees Tonga leading on 5 points, Fiji on 4 and Samoa on 1.
A win with a 4 try bonus point can give Manu Samoa the title for the 2017 PNC. In the World Cup qualification series, Fiji lead on 12 points and have secured Oceania 1.
Tonga are on 6 points with Samoa on 5 points.
A win or draw will secure the Oceania 2 position for Manu Samoa. “A loss with a bonus point, and provided Samoa do not lose by a margin of 20 points, Manu Samoa will still qualify.
“There is still plenty riding on this game and the Flying Fijians will want to finish on a high after having had some good victories in recent weeks.
“This week we have gone about our work quietly understanding the enormity and significance of this game.” Namulauulu further pointed out they are clear on the requirements to get a much needed result, so it's the process and preparation that is our absolute focus against a very good Fijian side.
Throughout this campaign we have had enormous support and prayers, both in Samoa and from abroad. “We need to repay that faith with our best performance this Saturday, its not complicated.”
The team is excited that Samoa will come out in support of the team in what is their last game in front of home fans for 2017. Kick off is 2:00pm at Apia Park. Your team for the final match of the June/July test window.
This doubles up as the Oceania Rugby World Cup qualifier over 2016/17 results and the 2017 Pacific Nations Cup. Namulauulu says that changes have been made in the forward pack from the last match versus Tonga together with some changes on the bench.
The starting back line remains unchanged. Starting his first test after a good debut off the bench is Bay of Plenty Mitre 10 player Jordan Lay in place of Nephi Leatigaga who will come off the bench. Also keeping his spot on the bench is brother of Jordan, James who will debut if he is able to get on the field.
Elia Elia will make his first start of the series at hooker. Also making his first start after having to withdraw from the All Blacks match is Jack Lam who has worked hard on his recovery to take the open side flanker sport.
Having Jack Lam's experience will be a boost in the forwards. Galu Taufale will come off the bench joined by impact player Vavae Tuilagi.
Ahsee Tuala completes the team changes coming in onto the bench for outside back cover in place of Henry Taefu. The team is excited that Samoa will come out in support of the team in what is their last game in front of home fans for 2017.
“Kick off is 2:00pm at Apia Park,” said Namulauulu.
The team is: (Club, Village)
1. Jordan Lay - Whakarewarewa, Safotu/Sasina
2. Elia Elia - Harlequins, Salelesi/Afega
3. Paul Alo-Emile - Stade Francais, Leulumoega Tuai/Fasito'o-Tai/Falefa
4. Chris Vui - Worcester Warriors, Foaluga/Lano /Saasaai
5. Faatiga Lemalu - Saracens, Faleasiu/Lefaga
6. Piula Faasalele - Toulouse, Magiagi/Nofoalii
7. Jack Lam - Bristol, Gataivai/Malie/Taga
8. Faifili Levave - Mitsubishi , Lalomanu/Fasito'o-Uta
9. Kahn Fotualii - Bath, Faleapuna
10. Tusiata Pisi - Bristol, Lefaga Safaatoa/Toamua
11. David Lemi - Bristol, Iva/Vaiafai
12. Reynold Lee-Lo - Cardiff Blues, Vailima/Magiagi/Satolepai
13. Kieron Fonotia - Ospreys, Apia
14. Alapati Leiua - Wasps, Malie
15. Tim Nanai Williams - Chiefs, Manono/Falelatai
16. Seilala Lam - Nevers, Gataivai/Malie/Taga
17. Nephi Leatigaga - Piacenza, Saleloga/Siumu
18. James Lay - Whakarewarewa, Safotu/Sasina
19. Galu Taufale - Poneke, Manono Uta/Falelatai
20. Vavae Tuilagi - Carcasonne, Fatausi/Fogopoa/Lalomalava
21. Auvasa Falealii - Nevers, Letogo/Lefaga Gagaifo
22. D’Angelo Leuila - Papatoetoe, Gataivai/Fagalii
23. Ahsee Tuala - Northampton, Moamoa/Gataivai