Coach makes changes for must win test
Manu Samoa coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia has named his team for the must win game against Tonga at Teufaiva Stadium in Nuku'alofa today.
The team sees the return of Tim Nanai Williams to the starting line up at fullback.
Namulauulu Alama Ieremia has had to make some enforced changes to his squad.
"It is not ideal losing your two key props leading in to one of your biggest test matches for 2017,” he said.
“However this does open the door for Nephi Leatigaga to start at loosehead prop with two new call ups to the squad in Bay of Plenty brothers Jordan and James Lay, who were both born in Samoa.”
The Lay brothers will come off the bench in what will be their debut and an exciting opportunity for them to wear the Manu Samoa jersey.
Leatigaga is one of three changes to the starting XV that took on Wales.
Faifili Levave will start at No.8.
Another player to make his debut will be Masalosalo Tutaia who has earned a position on the bench forcing his way in through strong training performances. Rejoining the team from the bench will be Taiasina Tuifua, and Elia Elia who is set to make his first appearance of this series.
Auvasa Falealii has returned from injury. D'Angelo Leuila and Henry Taefu round up the players coming off the bench.
"We are looking forward to playing a strong Tongan team named, we all know the significance of this match," says Namulauulu.
"It is not lost on us that we have not played here since 2008 and this was actually the last time a test match was last played in Tonga, so as you can imagine it will be a big occasion for Tonga and the community here."
Tonga and World Rugby have worked hard to get the field to a standard that is good enough for test rugby.
The team has been training well and are looking forward to this match and putting on a strong performance to make Samoa proud.
The game is scheduled to kick off 3pm.
MANU SAMOA TEAM NAMED TO PLAY THE 'IKALE TAHI TONGA
The team is: (Club, Village)
1. Nephi Leatigaga, Piacenza, Saleloga/Siumu
2. Maatulimanu Leiataua, Bayonne, Manono/Safune
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. Galu Taufale, Poneke, Manono Uta/Falelatai
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 (Captain)
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. Elia Elia, Harlequins, Salelesi/Afega
17.*Jordan Lay, Whakarewarewa, Safotu/Sasina
18.*James Lay, Whakarewarewa, Safotu/Sasina
19.*Masalosalo Tutaia, Pau, Nofoalii/Matautu Lefaga
20. Taiasina Tuifua, Lauli'I / Sili
21. Auvasa Falealii, Nevers, Letogo/Lefaga Gagaifo
22. D’Angelo Leuila, Papatoetoe, Gaitavai/Fagalii
23. Henry Taefu, Queensland Reds, Siufaga Falelatai/Samatau