Jack Lam to captain Manu in first start this year
Jack Lam will captain the Manu Samoa from openside flanker as he makes his first start of the Pacific Nations Cup campaign against Fiji on Saturday.
He’ll play in a forward pack that more closely resembles what Samoa fielded in their win against Tonga two weeks ago, minus Afaesetiti Amosa who is out with a sprained toe injury.
Dwayne Polata’ivao will see his first 2019 P.N.C. action from a starting halfback berth, with Ulupano Junior Seuteni returning to the team outside him at first five.
Welsh club rivals Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff) and Kieron Fonotia (Scarlets) partner up in midfield, with Alapati Leiua and the returning Belgium Tuatagaloa playing on the wings.
Ahsee Tuala keeps his place at fullback; he TJ Ioane (number eight this week), and lock Teofilo Paulo are the only three players to start all three P.N.C. matches.
Local Samoan players Alofaaga Sao and Johnny Vaili both missed out on selection, while Tofatuimoana Solia is still out with a P.C.L. injury.
Lock Vaito’asa Senio Toleafoa (two caps) and loose forward Henry Stowers (one cap) both get another chance to impress coach Vaeluaga Steve Jackson off the bench.
Vaeluaga said management was still looking at players in different positions and certain combinations, and that Fiji would be a “good test”.
“Obviously they have beaten some good teams.
“This is an opportunity to get our confidence back after last week and we will be looking for our game drivers to step up and run the game as we expect.”
Vaeluaga said the P.N.C was always an opportunity to build depth towards the Rugby World Cup, and management are happy what the are implementing is on the right track.
“We didn’t get a result last week but we are heading in the right direction.”
The Manu Samoa will look to bounce back from their 10-13 loss to U.S.A. in their final Pacific Nations Cup match against Fiji on Saturday at 8:15pm Samoan time.
Manu Samoa team to play Fiji:
1. Logovi’i Mulipola
2. Motu Matu’u
3. Paul Alo-Emile
4. Teofilo Paulo
5. Kane Le’aupepe
6. Christopher Vui
7. Jack Lam (captain)
8. TJ Ioane
9. Dwayne Polata’ivao
10. Ulupano Junior Seuteni
11. Belgium Tuatagaloa
12. Reynold Lee-Lo
13. Kieron Fonotia
14. Alapati Leiua
15. Ahsee Tuala
IN: Motu Matu'u, Paul Alo-Emile, Kane Le'aupepe, Christopher Vui, Dwayne Polata'ivao, Ulupano Junior Seuteni, Belgium Tuatagaloa
PROMOTED: Logovi'i Mulipola, Jack Lam, Rey Lee-Lo
DEMOTED: Jordan Lay, James Lay, Vaito’asa Senio Toleafoa, Henry Stowers, Pelefofoga Cowley, AJ Alatimu, Henry Taefu
OUT: Seilala Lam, Piula Fa'asalele, Johnny Vaili
16. Ray Niuia
17. Jordan Lay
18. James Lay
19. Vaito’asa Senio Toleafoa
20. Henry Stowers
21. Pelefofoga Cowley
22. AJ Alatimu
23. Henry Taefu/JJ Taulagi
IN: Ray Niuia
OUT: Elia Elia, Alofaaga Sao, Afaesetiti Amosa, Auvasa Faleali'i