Levi leads Samoan unknowns
September 1, 2008
Otago and Highlanders veteran lock Filipo Levi will lead a Samoan team stacked with relatively unknown players against the All Blacks in their one-off Test in New Plymouth on Wednesday.
Levi is one of three players based in Japan in the forward pack but otherwise the team are comprised almost entirely of his best talent from the Samoan domestic game.
The entire starting backline come from three clubs in Samoa - Apia, Apia West and Tuamasaga - with first five-eighth and sevens vet eran Uale Mai perhaps the best known of them, starting outside Apia West teammate Notise Tauafao.
Three of the forwards are domiciled in Apia while Exeter lock Chad Slade is the only British-based player to earn a release for the test, admittedly from a lower division club.
The only New Zealand-based starting player is Counties Manukau prop Simon Lemalu. His provincial teammate Romi Ropati will cover the outside backs from the reserve bench, alongside backup halfback Junior Poluleuligaga of North Harbour.
Samoa: Alatasi Tupou, Reupena Levasa, Pale Toelupe, Jerry Meafou, Esera Lauina, Uale Mai, Notise Tauafao, George Stowers, Alafoti Faosiliva, Semo Sititi, Chad Slade, Filipo Levi (captain), Heroshi Tea, Loleni Tafunai, Simon Lemalu.
Reserves: Lafoga Aoelua, Roysiu Tolufale, Maselino Paulino, Simaika Mikaele, Junior Poluleuligaga, Roger Warren, Romi Ropati.
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