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Samoa coach Betham makes 3 changes for RWC South Africa bash

Stanley starts at flyhalf ahead of Pisi as Samoa makes 3 changes for RWC South Africa clash

Samoa coach Betham makes 3 changes for RWC South Africa bash

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) -- Samoa picked inexperienced Mike Stanley at flyhalf as one of three changes to the side for the key Rugby World Cup Pool B match against South Africa on Saturday.

The New Zealand-born Stanley, who came off the bench in last Sunday's 25-16 win against the United States, takes the place of Tusi Pisi, the regular standoff and goalkicker.

Stanley, who plays for Irish side Ulster, stands to win only his eighth test cap, and will take the kicking duties. Pisi, who has 25 caps, two tries and 172 points, drops to the bench.

The other two changes are in the forwards, with Motu Matu'u replacing Ole Avei at hooker while TJ Ioane -- who was not in the squad against the U.S. Eagles -- comes into the side at flanker for Maurie Fa'asavalu.

With only four test caps, Matu'u will have his work cut out against opposite AJ Strauss, who wins his 50th cap.

No. 8 Vavae Tuilagi, the younger brother of right winger Alesana Tuilagi, earns a place in the reserves along with utility back George Pisi, who sits on the bench with his older brother Tusi.

It means all three Pisi brothers could be on the field at the same time, because Ken Pisi starts on the right wing.

The average age of the Samoa side is pushing 30 years old, but is more than one year younger on average than the team that faced the U.S.

They may need that extra vigor because the clash at Birmingham's Villa Park -- home of English Premier League football club Aston Villa -- promises to be a bruising affair if their last World Cup encounter is anything to go by.

At New Zealand's North Harbour Stadium in 2011, South Africa scraped through a brutal encounter 13-5, advancing to the quarterfinals.

Samoa fullback Paul Williams was sent off for striking flanker Heinrich Brussow in the face, while for the Springboks, captain John Smit was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on, and lock Danie Rossouw sent to the blood bin.

Census Johnston, a 137-kilogram bruiser, is on the Samoa bench again in case it gets feisty.

South Africa enjoyed a somewhat more comfortable win the last time they met the Samoans, however, winning 56-23 two years ago.

The Springboks will be extra motivated to beat Samoa after losing their first pool match 34-32 to Japan in the biggest upset in the tournament's history.

They will be keeping a close eye on fullback Tim Nanai-Williams, who starred for Samoa against the Eagles with one well-taken try and some elusive running.


Samoa: Tim Nanai-Williams, Ken Pisi, Paul Perez, Rey Lee-Lo, Alesana Tuilagi, Mike Stanley, Kahn Fotuali'i; Ofisa Treviranus (captain), Jack Lam, TJ Ioane, Iosefa Tekori, Teofilo Paulo, Anthony Perenise, Motu Matu'u, Sakaria Taulafo. Reserves: Ole Avei, Viliamu Afatia, Census Johnston, Faifili Levave, Vavae Tuilagi, Vavao Afemai, Tusi Pisi, George Pisi.

Updated : 2021-05-10 07:58 GMT+08:00