Rugby World Cup 2023 Oceania 1 Qualifier to be Decided in Hamilton

by Oceania Rugby

Second leg of the Oceania 1 Play-off between Tonga and Samoa to be contested at FMG Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday 17 July

Tonga has made nine changes as they prepare for the second leg of the Rugby World Cup Oceania qualifiers in Hamilton this Saturday.

The ‘Ikale Tahi welcome back flyhalf James Faiva, after being a late withdrawal in the first test, with Kalione Hala returning to fullback and Nafi Tu'itavake moving to the bench.

Two changes to the forward pack with Siua Maile replacing Sam Moli at hooker and Harrison Mataele in at lock for the injured Zane Kapeli, who ruptured his patellar tendon against Manu and is expected to be sidelined for nine months.

Former Chiefs number eight Maama Vaipulu, returns to the squad after five years playing in France and will bolster the team from the bench.

Samoa will go into the match relatively unchanged, with some minor reshuffling in the backline.

Jonathan Taumateine replaces the injured Auvasa Faleali'I at scrumhalf, after playing 75 minutes in the first match, and Ed Fidow is promoted from the bench and will start on the right wing, with Tomasi Alosio shifting to his preferred fullback position in place of Ah See Tuala.

Three debutants have been named on the benches. Grammar Tech hooker Jay Fonokalafi and North Harbour scrumhalf Aisea Halo for Tonga, while former New Zealand Sevens development player, Losi Filipo, is among the reserves for Samoa.

With the Manu defeating Tonga 42-13 in Auckland last weekend, Tonga will need to win this fixture by 30+ points to secure qualification to Rugby World Cup 2023.

A Samoan victory, or loss by less than 29, will see the Manu join England, Argentina, Japan and the Americas 2 qualifier in Pool D in France.

The aggregate loser will face the Cook Islands on July 24 in Pukekohe, with the winner of that match playing off against the 2021 Asia Rugby champion – either Hong Kong, Malaysia or Korea – which will determine the Asia/Pacific 1 berth in Pool B, alongside world champions South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and the Europe 2 qualifier

Game 2: Saturday 17 July 2021

  • Tonga v Samoa
  • 4:00pm (local time)
  • FMG Stadium, Hamilton
  • Broadcast: Sky (New Zealand), Stan Sports (Australia)

Teams

Tonga

  1. Jethro Felemi
  2. Siua Maile
  3. Sila Puafisi
  4. Don Lolo
  5. Harrison Mataele
  6. Sione Tu'ipolotu
  7. Mateaki Kafatolu
  8. Nasi Manu
  9. Sonatane Takulua (c)
  10. James Faiva
  11. Hosea Saumaki
  12. Nikolai Foliaki
  13. Fine Inisi
  14. Penikolo Latu
  15. Kalione Hala
  16. Jay Fonokalafi*
  17. Duke Nginingini
  18. Ben Tameifuna
  19. Maama Vaipulu
  20. Viliami Taulani
  21. Aisea Halo*
  22. Nafi Tu'itavake
  23. Walter Fifita

Samoa

  1. Tietie Tuimauga
  2. Ray Niuia
  3. Michael Alaalatoa (c)
  4. Benjamin Nee-Nee
  5. Samuel Slade
  6. Olajuwon Noa
  7. Alamanda Motuga
  8. Henry Time-Stowers
  9. Jonathan Taumateine
  10. Rodney Iona
  11. Neria Fomai
  12. Henry Taefu
  13. Stacey Ili
  14. Ed Fidow
  15. Tomasi Alosio
  16. Seilala Lam
  17. Jonah Aoina
  18. Kalolo Tuiloma
  19. Theo McFarland
  20. Jack Lam
  21. Dwayne Polataivao
  22. D'Angelo Leuila
  23. Losi Filipo*