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Powerful winger picked to start for Samoa against Japan

Ed Fidow of Samoa poses for a portrait during the Samoa Rugby World Cup 2023 Squad photocall on September 05, 2023 in Montpellier, France. (Photo by Adam Pretty - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Samoa’s head coach Seilala Mapusua has announced four changes to his lineup for their upcoming Pool D clash against Japan in Toulouse on Thursday, following their recent 19-10 loss to Argentina.

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In the back-row, Taleni Seu will feature after an impressive display off the bench last week, covering 25 meters, including 20 meters gained past the gain-line, in just 26 minutes.

Sa Jordan Taufua is set to start as number eight, replacing former All Black Steven Luatua. This marks Taufua’s first start since November 2022, with his test rugby appearances this season limited to under 40 minutes in each of his three caps as a substitute.

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The centre pairing will see Alai D’Angelo Leuila alongside Tumua Manu for only the second time, the first being in July 2022 against Fiji in Lautoka.

On the right-wing, Ed Fidow will start, taking over from Nigel Ah-Wong. Impressively, eight of Fidow’s 12 test tries have been scored when starting on the right-wing.

Among the match-day 23, there are 11 players who participated in Samoa’s 24-22 victory against Japan earlier this year, including eight in the starting XV: Paul Alo-Emile, Taleni Seu, Jonathan Taumateine, Christian Leali’ifano, Tumua Manu, Ed Fidow, Duncan Paia’aua, and Danny Toala.

SAMOA TEAM TO FACE JAPAN AT THE STADE DE TOULOUSE

1 James Lay
2 Seilala Lam
3 Paul Alo-Emile
4 Chris Vui (c)
5 Theo McFarland
6 Taleni Junior Agaese Seu
7 Fritz Lee
8 Sa Jordan Taufua
9 Jonathan Taumateine
10 Christian Leali’ifano
11 Ben Lam
12 Alai D’Angelo Leuila
13 Tumua Manu
14 Ed Fidow
15 Duncan Paia’aua

Replacements:
16 Sama Malolo
17 Jordan Lay
18 Michael Alaalatoa
19 Steven Luatua
20 Alamanda Motuga
21 Melani Matavao
22 Neria Fomai
23 Danny Toala

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Fixture
Rugby World Cup
Japan
28 - 22
Full-time
Samoa
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