Manu Samoa head coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua has today named his team which will take on the Qantas Wallabies at ANZ Stadium on Sunday July 17.
While 15 players have been training together in Sydney since Sunday, the remaining squad members arrived this morning following the completion of the IRB’s Pacific Nations Cup tournament – which Japan won after surprising Fiji 24-13 in the deciding round-robin match. Samoa lost to Tonga 29-19 on Wednesday after earlier recording a strong win over Japan in Tokyo and a loss to Fiji in Suva.
Tafua said he’s using the next few months to find the best team to compete at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in September and October.
“The defeat by Tonga, will not affect the team’s preparations against the Wallabies in the weekend,” Tafua said. “Manu Samoa’s preparations for PNC, the Test against Australia and two home fixtures against Western Force is all part of the selection for a RWC team for Samoa.
“There will be a slight change to this weekend’s selection, but so far preparations for the Wallabies Test is all good and we look forward to the Test this weekend.”
Eleven players in the 22 have previous Super Rugby experience with prop Anthony Perenise (Hurricanes), halfback Kahn Fotuali’i (Crusaders) and captain Mahonri Schwalger (Highlanders) all appearing with New Zealand franchises in 2011.
During his time at the Crusaders, Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans had five of the squad under his tutelage - prop Sakaria Taulafo, flyhalf Tusi Pisi, fullback Paul Williams – son of All Blacks great Bee Gee Williams, reserve hooker Tii Paulo and playmaker Fotuali’i.
Sunday afternoon’s Test, with kick-off scheduled at 2pm (AEST), is the first time the two nations have met since 2005, with Australia winning the fixture 74-7 at the same venue.
Samoa starting XV:
15. Paul Williams (Sale Sharks, UK)
14. Sailosi Tagicakibau (London Irish, UK)
13. George Pisi (ASM Clermont Ferrand, France)
12. Seilala Mapusua (Vc) (Ricoh,Japan)
11. Alesana Tuilagi (Leicester, UK)
10. Tusi Pisi (Suntory, Japan)
9. Kahn Fotuali’I (Crusaders NZ)
8. George Stowers (Ospreys, UK)
7. Maurie Fa’asavalu (Harlequins UK)
6. Taisina Tuifu’a (Counties, NZ)
5. Daniel Leo (Bordeaux Begles, France)
4. Kane Thompson (Hawkes Bay, NZ)
3. Anthony Perenise (Hurricanes, NZ)
2. Mahonri Schwalger (Captain) (Highlanders, NZ )
1. Sakaria Taulafo (Wasps, UK)
16. Tii Paulo (ASM Clermont Ferrand)
17. Census Johnston (Hawkes Bay/Toulouse)
18. Filipo Lavea Levi (Free Agent)
19. Manaia Salavea (Narbonne, Samoa)
20. Brenton Helleur (North Harbour, NZ)
21. Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu (Gloucester, UK)
22. James So’oialo (Wellington, NZ)