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Friday Jul 21, 2023

Manu Samoa to unleash former All Black and Wallaby against Japan

South Pacific Island nation Samoa will continue their build-up to Rugby World Cup 2023 this weekend when they face Japan.

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Playing at the incredible Sapporo Dome in Hokkaido, Japan, the two sides will be looking to lay down a marker ahead of their Pool D match at the World Cup later this year.

For Samoa, they welcome two highly experienced internationals to their ranks for their fixture as they utilise the latest World Rugby eligibility laws.

In the front row World Cup winning All Black Charlie Faumuina will make his Samoa debut at 36-years-old.

Making the last of his 50 appearances for New Zealand in 2017, the 136kg Tighthead currently plays for French Top 14 Champions Toulouse. His experience should prove invaluable should he make it to the World Cup where Samoa will face scrummaging powerhouses England and Argentina.

Behind the pack, Christian Leali’ifano will make his debut at flyhalf. The 35-year-old played the last of his 26 games for Australia in 2019 and has played for Moana Pasifika in the past two Super Rugby competitions.

A sharp shooting goal kicker and controlled playmaker, the former Brumbies star will play a key role in bringing the exciting Samoan backline into the game.

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Outside Leali’ifano is former Australian U20 star Ulupano Seuteni who is fresh off winning a Heineken Champions Cup with La Rochelle. The centre scored a crucial try for the French powerhouse in their remarkable comeback against Irish side Leinster.

Manu Samoa: 15 Danny Toala, 14 Neria Foma’i, 13 Ulupano Seuteni, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Tumua Manu, 10 Christan Leali’iafano, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 So’otala Fa’aso’o, 7 Alamanda Motuga, 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Michael Curry, 4 Brian Alainu’uese, 3 Paul Alo-Emile (c), 2 Luteru Tolai, 1 Jordan Lay

Replacements: 16 Ray Nivia, 17 Tietie Tuimauga, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Genesis Mamea-Lemalu, 20 Miracle Fai’ilagi, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 Martini Talapusi, 23 Ed Fidow

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