Samoa change seven for Scotland clash

Date published: October 8 2015

Samoa head coach Stephen Betham has named his team to face Scotland at St James' Park on Saturday, with seven changes made to his starting XV.

Rey Lee-Lo and George Pisi combine for the first time in a Test, as do Maurie Fa'asavalu, Jack Lam and Alafoti Fa'osiliva in the back row.

Neither Fa'asavalu nor Fa'osiliva have played since Samoa's opening 25-16 win over the USA.

Scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i will captain the team in the absence of back-row Ofisa Treviranus, who is not in the matchday 23.

Fotuali'i will become the sixth player to captain Samoa in a RWC match, but has already led the team twice before, in defeats by Ireland (40-9) and Georgia (16-15) during November 2013.

Fa'atoina Autagavaia, whose only previous RWC 2015 game time was the final eight minutes of the USA match, will play on the left wing in place of the suspended Alesana Tuilagi.

The final change is hooker Manu Leiataua, who will make his RWC debut. Leiataua also made his Test debut off the bench against Scotland, in Samoa's only ever win, 27-17 during the 2013 Quadrangular Tournament in South Africa.

There are only six players in Samoa's matchday 23 from the squad that registered that victory. Tusi Pisi, Lam, Filo Paulo and Census Johnston all started, while Faosiliva was on the bench with Leiataua, but was an unused replacement.

Samoa-based fly-half Patrick Fa'apale will also make his RWC debut if he gets off the bench. If Fa'apale plays, that will leave Jake Grey – who is not in the matchday 23 – as the only member of Samoa's RWC 2015 squad without any match action.

It is Samoa's second most experienced RWC starting XV in terms of caps with 324, 23 behind the line-up that began the match against Japan, and also their third oldest RWC starting XV in terms of average age at 30 years 229 days. The only two older were here at RWC 2015, 31 years 4 days against the USA, and 30 years 334 days against Japan.

Samoa: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Paul Perez, 13 George Pisi, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Fa'atoina Autagavaia, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i (c), 8 Alafoti Faosiliva, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Maurie Faasavalu, 5 Kane Thompson, 4 Teofilo Paulo, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Ma'atulimanu Leiataua, 1 Sakari Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Vavae Tuilagi, 21 Vavao Afemai, 22 Patrick Faapale, 23 Ken Pisi.

Date: Saturday, October 10
Venue: St James' Park, Newcastle
Kick-off: 14:30 local (13:30 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)