Manu Samoa star flyhalf starts against Fiji

AUCKLAND; 23 Sept 2011: Samoa’s Head Coach Fuimaono Titimaea Taufua today also announced his team with flyhalf Tusiata Pisi returning to the starting fifteen. Also fit is loose foward Taiasina Tuifua and winger Sailosi Tagicakibau.

A win over Fiji is the least that needs to happen if Samoa is to progress to the quarter-finals. Fiji beating Wales on October 2 is probably the other half of the most likely equation for Samoa to progress.

Earlier this week, members of the Manu Samoa 1991 and 1995 teams that took Samoa to the quarterfinals assembled in Auckland for a week long reunion. To have all of these legends of Samoa rugby come together after twenty years must have been a special moment for their captain Papaliitele Peter Fatialofa who was the co-organiser of the reunion.

Another proud moment was to see Tuifa’asisina Brian Williams who was the 1991 Manu Samoa Technical Advisor wearing his Manu Samoa blazer on the night as the players pay tribute to his current position as president of the New Zealand Rugby Union, host union of the 2011 rugby world cup.

On Tuesday the Manu legends descended on Western Spring where the Manu Samoa team were training to provide encouragement ahead of their must win game; a surprise treat also to the hundreds of faithful Manu Samoa supporters who were there.

Fiji head coach Samu Domoni today announced his team to play against Samoa at Eden Park, Auckland, on Sunday, 25 September. The team captained my Deacon Manu includes fly half Nicky Little who will be playing his 70th cap in the match against Samoa.

Rugby News Service has reported Fiji assistant coach Shannon Fraser saying, “We’re using a lot of senior players with a good history of playing Samoa.”

With a 49-25 victory over Namibia and a 49-3 loss to reigning RWC champions South Africa behind them, a top two pool finish is still possible, and Fraser said that “Wales and Samoa are must-win games if we want to progress”.

Fiji have beaten Samoa 25 of the 44 times the island nations have played each other, but Samoa are two positions higher in the IRB World Rankings, where the teams are 12th and 14th respectively.

MANU SAMOA
1. Sakaria Taulafo
2. Mahonri Schwalger  (Captain)
3. Census Johnston
4. Daniel Leo
5. Kane Thompson
6. Taiasina Tuifua
7. Maurie Faasavalu
8. George Stowers
9. Kahn Fotualii
10. Tusiata Pisi
11. Alesana Tuilagi
12. Seilala Mapusua (Vice Captain)
13. George Pisi
14. Sailosi Tagicakibau
15. Paul Williams

Replacements:
16. Tii Paulo
17. Anthony Perenise
18. Filipo Lavea Levi
19. Manaia Salave’a
20. Jeremy Su’a
21. Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu
22. James Sooialo

FLYING FIJIANS
1. Campese Ma’afu
2. Sunia Koto
3. Deacon Manu (Captain)
4. Seko Kalou
5. Leone Nakarawa
6. Netani Edward Talei
7. Mala Ravulo
8. Sisa Koyamaibole
9. Nemia Kenatale
10. Nicky Little
11. Naipolioni Nalaga
12. Seremaia Bai
13. Gaby Lovobalavu
14. Vereniki Goneva
15. Kini Murimurivalu

Replacements:
16. Talemaitoga Dautu Tuapati
17. Setefano Somoca
18. Rupeni Nasiga
19. Akapusi Qera
20. Vitori Tomu Buatava
21. Albert James Vulivuli
22. Waisea Sedre Luveniyali

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