Manusina ring changes for Australia
With nothing but pride on the line in their match against Australia A on Tuesday, the Manusina have made several changes to the lineup from their previous game.
As they are already through to the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship final World Cup qualifier next Saturday, the Manusina management are keen to give certain players extra game time during the tournament in Lautoka, Fiji.
Tighthead prop Jennifer Simati will see her first minutes of the tour in a new starting front row with Cynthia Apineru and Aigaevalu Samau Timani.
Mary Auvele gets her first ever Manusina start at lock with Maria Jacinta Ausai ruled out of the rest of the tournament, including that crucial qualifier on Saturday against Fiji.
Captain Nina Foaese is also rested with a head knock picked up early the previous Fiji game on Friday, so Elieta Taito shifts from prop into the vacant number eight jersey.
Alafou Fatu will start at halfback, while fullback Saelua Leaula drops out of the team for second five Billy-Jean Ale, forcing a backline reshuffle.
Linda Fiafia and Anna-Helen Vaotuua are set for their first minutes of the tournament off the bench.
The match on Tuesday will be Samoa’s first against an Australian representative side since 2009, when they suffered their largest ever defeat; 87-0 against the Wallaroos.
“The game against Fiji is certainly our main focus but it’s nice to have the opportunity to come up against Australia A while the chance presents itself,” said Manusina coach Ramsey Tomokino.
His side come into the match off the back of a win over Papua New Guinea and a loss to Fiji, while Australia A lost their only game so far 50-0 to the Black Ferns Development XV.
Manusina team to play Australia A at Churchill Park, Lautoka on Tuesday at 5pm (Samoan time):
1. Cynthia Apineru
2. Aigaevalu Samau Timani
3. Jennifer Simati
4. Mary Auvele
5. Easter Savelio
6. Alyce Solaese
7. Masuisuimatamaalii Pauaraisa (vc)
8. Elieta Taito
9. Alafou Fatu
10. Bella Milo (c)
11. Luisa Gago
12. Billy-Jean Ale
13. Josephine Falesita
14. Apaau Mailau
15. Sieni Mose Samau
16. Hope Sa’u
17. Molly Maligi
18. Margaret Vaiouga
19. Marilyn Live
20. Mary-Lee Sa’u
21. Jhana Magele
22. Linda Fiafia
23. Anna-Helen Vaotu’ua