Samoa choose consistency over change
September 12, 2011
Tuilagi impressed against the Wallabies © Getty Images
Samoa have named what looks like their strongest possible line-up for the Pool D clash with Namibia on Wednesday.
The team is the same side which took to the field in their famous 32-23 win over Australia in July. Despite facing Wales on Sunday in Hamilton, coach Dickie Taufa has his eyes firmly set on kicking off their World Cup campaign on the right foot. He said: "This is our first game, the best team we've selected. We're not worried about the second game."
And following Alessana Tuilagi's storming performance against the Wallabies, he will be a marked man throughout the World Cup. "He's a monster and he's got a bit of speed," Samoa scrum half Kahn Fotuali'i said. "He's quite brainy, too, and rugby-smart. You just give him the ball and let him do his thing.
"I think Rod Davies will be having nightmares after the match against the Aussies. He (Tuilagi) was on the end of a good backline in defence and I guess he snotted the right person at the right time."
Tuilagi might be a beast on the field but Samoa centre Johnny Leota said his 30-year-old teammate is a gentle giant away from rugby. "Off-field he's a bit of a joker," Leota said. "He's a real nice guy and very humble. On-field, he's not one I'd mess with."
Samoa full back Paul Williams, the son of All Blacks legend Bryan, plans on feeding plenty of ball to Tuilagi against Namibia. "He's all but barred from the gym in his club (Leicester Tigers) in Europe because they figure he's big and powerful enough," Williams said. "Any power testing we do, he cleans us up. He's a formidable winger."
Samoa: Paul Williams, Sailosi Tagicakibau, George Pisi, Seilala Mapusua, Alesani Tuilagi, Tusi Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i; Sakaria Taulafo, Mahonri Schwalger (capt), Anthony Perenise, Daniel Leo, Kane Thompson, Taiasina Tuifua, Maurie Faasavalu, George Stowers.
Replacements: Ti'i Paulo, Census Johnston, Joe Tekori, Ofisa Treviranus, Junior Poluleuligaga, Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, Tasesa Lavea.
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