Little change to Samoa line-up, but Boks still waiting to name captain

2013-06-21 00:00

WHILE the Springboks still face injury concerns, and are not even sure who will captain the team, Samoa were yesterday able to name a settled and unchanged line-up for tomorrow evening’s Incoming Tour Series final at Loftus.

Samoan coach Stephen Betham yesterday named the same team that thumped Italy 39-10 last Saturday and the only change is among the replacements, where flank Alafoti Faosilva replaces Piula Faasalele. Samoa beat Scotland 27-17 in their first game at King’s Park.

There are two sets of brothers in the Samoan 22-man squad. The burly Johnstons have been squabbling over the prop position with Census starting tomorrow and with James named on the bench.

But it was brotherly love that has brought the Treviranus siblings, flank Ofisa and wing Alapati, together.

Alapati, who lives in Wellington and plays for the Hurricanes, was adopted by his uncle and changed his name to Leiua. This year, he turned down overtures from the All Blacks and opted to play for Samoa instead so that he could be reunited with his elder brother Ofisa, who he has not seen for a decade.

Leiua, who made his Samoan debut against Scotland in Durban, told reporters he was delighted to be touring South Africa. “We have had a really good time in South Africa. It’s like a family reunion. Playing with my brother has always been a dream.

“We grew up watching the Springboks play on television, and they have always been physical and a tough team to beat. It will be an important moment for us.”

He said the current Samoan team was one of the strongest ever assembled.

“This is probably the best side Samoa have had in ages. We are building slowly towards the World Cup in 2015 … that is our target.”

The Springboks will decide this morning whether centre and captain Jean de Villiers and flank Willem Alberts will be fit enough to play tomorrow. Jan Serfontein is on stand-by for De Villiers, while Siya Kolisi will start on the flank if Alberts is not ready.

Hooker Adriaan Strauss will lead the team if De Villiers withdraws. He told reporters he was ready for the challenge. “If I get the opportunity, I will be ready for the captaincy. It is a massive honour,” the Cheetahs captain said.

“It is actually unbelievable. It was always a dream to become a Springbok. To captain them exceeds my wildest dreams.

“We all hope that Jean will be fine for the weekend. He is a massive influence in the team. I told the whole squad that I don’t think that leadership is just my responsibility. As a squad, we will fill his shoes and every­one will make a step up.”

Samoa: 15-James So’oialo, 14-Alapati Leiua, 13-Paul Williams (captain), 12-John Leota, 11-Alesana Tuilagi, 10-Tusiata Pisi, 9-Jeremy Sua, 8-Taiasina Tuifua, 7-Jack Lam, 6-Ofisa Treviranus, 5-Daniel Leo, 4-Teofilo Paulo, 3-Census Johnston, 2-Wayne Ole Avei, 1-Sakaria Taulafo

Replacements: 16-Ti’i Paulo, 17-Logovii Mulipola, 18-James Johnston, 19-Kane Thompson, 20-Junior Poluleuligaga, 21-Brando Vaaulu, 22-Seilala Mapusua, 23-Alafoti Faosiliva.

Kick-off: 5.15 pm.

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