Manu Samoa names strong team to face Barbarians

Former Manu Samoa fullback Paul Williams to play for the Barbarians against his teammates

The Manu Samoa coach has named a strong side to take on the Barbarians at London’s Olympic Stadium this Saturday in the first of their two Rugby World Cup warm up matches.

The team is:
1          Sakaria Taulafo
2          Ole Avei
3          Anthony Perenise
4          Teofilo  Paulo
5          Kane Thompson
6          Maurie Faasavalu
7          Jack Lam
8          Ofisa Treviranus (captain)
9          Kahn Fotualii
10       Tusi Pisi
11       Ken Pisi
12       Rey Lee Lo
13       Paul Perez
14       Faatoina Autagavaia
15       Tim Nanai-Williams

Reserves: 
16       Maatulimanu Leiataua
17       Viliamu Afatia
18       Jake Grey
19       Faifili Levave
20       Vavae  Tuilagi
21       Vavao  Afemai
22       Patrick Faapale
23       Johnny Leota

Head Coach Stephen Betham said that the focus of this week’s selection was to provide some players with valuable game time.“We know what we want to achieve from this match, so our selections have been about giving some individuals game time. We’re also looking at further testing our combinations ahead of the World Cup.

“There are some players who have not played since they played against the All Blacks in Apia in July, so most of them are getting a start in this match.”

Despite the primary goal to give game time, Betham said they had named as strong as possible a side that helped to achieve their Rugby World Cup preparation objectives.

“The Barbarians have named a very experienced side with players who could easily be in the Wallabies or All Blacks. I’m sure those players who haven’t made their national teams for the World Cup will be out to prove a point and they’ll come out and give 110 per cent when we play on Saturday,” he said.

Betham was delighted for former Manu Samoa fullback Paul Williams who was named to start in the Barbarians side.

“It’s unfortunate for Paul that when we made our selections based on form, for the All Blacks Test and Pacific Nations Cup, he had just come back from injury and hadn’t played any rugby for some time.

“I know Paul is going to go out there and give it all he’s got and we don’t expect anything less from Paul.”

The match is part of England Rugby 2015’s testing programme and will allow organisers to trial aspects of match day delivery ahead of the Olympic Stadium hosting five Rugby World Cup matches, including the Bronze Final.

The Manu Samoa has settled well in Brighton where they are largely based for their two warm up matches and ahead of their Rugby World Cup tournament opener against the USA.

“The boys have travelled well and we have settled into training very quickly.  The wet weather has been challenging, particularly given the warmer and drier climates we have

been training and playing in for the past two months, but that’s rugby – it’s a global sport and it’s played in all types of weather,” Betham said.

Manu Samoa will play Wasps next Saturday before they rest ahead of their official Rugby World Cup assembly on 11 September.

Match Day:
Barbarians v Samoa
Olympic Stadium, London
Saturday 29 August 2015
Kick Off 3:00pm (GMT +1)