'Bankrupt' Samoa hope for Twickenham upset

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 07:52
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Samoa's players have vowed to continue doing their country proud on the field, despite the ongoing financial drama playing itself out in the boardroom.

The Samoan Rugby Union's recent announcement that it was bankrupt and could not pay the players, has been disputed by World Rugby.

Captain Chris Vui says players do not know what or if they will get paid, but the situation has brought them closer together.

"All we can control is playing rugby," Vui told BBC Radio 5 live.

"And that's what we love to do.

"The off-field stuff hasn't come into our preparations or anything at all, and we just love playing for the jersey at the moment.

"We can't control that stuff, and obviously it is there, but it has made us tighter in a way."

* Meanwhile Samoa coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua has made three changes to his starting line-up.

Despite suffering a shock 13-17 loss to Romania in Bucharest last weekend, Tafua has not made wholesale changes and retained most of the matchday squad from that fixture.

In the backline, there is only one change with Alapati Leiua starting at inside centre in place of Rey Lee-Lo, who has been named on the replacements bench.

Amongst the forwards, Thomas Ioane returns to the run-on side to start on the openside flank. He takes over from Jack Lam, who shifts to No.8 where he replaces veteran back row forward Ofisa Treviranus who drops down to the bench.

The final change is in the second row where Josh Tyrell returns to the starting line-up in place of Faatiga Lemalu.

Samoa: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Paul Perez, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 David Lemi, 10 Tim Nanai-Williams, 9 Dwayne Polataivao, 8 Jack Lam, 7 Thomas Ioane, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Chris Vui (captain), 4 Josh Tyrell, 3 Donald Brighouse, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Jordan Lay.
Replacements: 16 Manu Leiataua, 17 James Lay, 18 Hisa Sasagi, 19 Faatiga Lemalu, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 JJ Taulagi.

Date: Saturday, November 25
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 15.00 (15.00 GMT; 03.00, Sunday November 26 Samoan time)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)