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03 Nov 2017 by TSZ

2017 Rugby League World Cup - Samoa vs Tonga Preview

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The Lowdown

SAMOA

  • Samoa couldn't build on a promising first half showing against New Zealand last week as they succumbed in the second half and fell to a 30-point defeat.
  • Matt Parish has changed his squad following that defeat with Peter Mata'utia, Pita Godinet and Suaia Matagi making way for Fa'amanu Brown, Zane Musgrove and Ricky Leutele.
  • Samoa have now lost their last six international games and should this be their seventh consecutive loss, they would leave themselves with a likely shootout against Scotland next week for the final spot in the quarter-finals from this group.

Head Coach: Matt Parish

Team: Tonumaipea; Leutele, Lafai, Leilua, Maumalo; Joseph Paulo, Roberts; Junior Paulo, Tevaga, Ese'ese, Papalii, Pritchard, Ah Mau

Bench: Brown, Musgrove, Lisone, Afoa

TONGA

  • Tonga's power blew Scotland away last weekend as they raced into a 38-0 half-time lead. They took their foot off the gas in the second half but still notched 50 points in an impressive start to the tournament.
  • Despite the big win last week, Kristian Woolf has made a couple of changes to his three-quarter line with Manu Vatuvei and Konrad Hurrell making way for David Fusitua and Solomone Kata.
  • Presuming New Zealand beat Scotland as expected, a win here for Tonga would mean a face-off to win the group against the Kiwis next week.

Head Coach: Kristian Woolf

Team: Hopoate; Tupou, Jennings, Kata, Fusitu'a; Lolohea, Hingano; Fifita, Havili, Taukeiaho, Ma'u, Manu, Taumalolo

Bench: Katoa, Moa, Terepo, Murdoch-Masila

Analysis - what to expect
In what is one of the most anticipated games of the tournament, a fiery affair is in store as Samoa clash with Tonga. The Pacific Islands teams are bound to produce fireworks with two huge packs set to go toe-to-toe. Having won their last four games, Tonga will head into the game as favourites but Samoa will hope they can win their first game in seven. Samoa have enough in their ranks to win this game but it's the Tongans who should come out on top and set themselves up for a shot at winning the group.

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