For their final 2019 Rugby World Cup match, Samoa head coach Vaeluaga Steve Jackson has made two changes to the team that lost 38-19 to tournament hosts Japan in Toyota last Saturday.
Newcastle Falcons prop Logovi’i Mulipola returns on the loosehead side of the scrum and Filo Paulo of London Irish is included in the second row, with Jordan Lay and Piula Faasalele the players to make way.
Samoa sit on five points in Pool A and cannot reach the quarter-finals. This is their first meeting with Ireland since losing 40-9 at the Aviva Stadium in November 2013. Five players from that side are in Saturday’s matchday 23 – Mulipola, Paulo, captain Jack Lam, who is a cousin of former Connacht head coach Pat Lam, Alapati Leiua and Tusi Pisi.
A number of the Samoans play their club rugby in England and France, including the back row of Bristol duo Lam and Chris Vui and London Irish’s TJ Ioane. Centre Henry Taefu, who is attached to Western Force in Australia, scored all 19 of their points against Japan last weekend.
Speaking ahead of their final World Cup game in Fukuoka, Jackson said: “We’ve just told our players this is going to be the last time that this group will be together and we can’t go anywhere further in our pool than we are at the moment, so at the end of the day, we play for a bit of pride and we don’t have anything to lose, really.
“Ireland are in the top three teams in the world and we’re just going there to throw anything at it. I don’t think that the game is going to be won on penalties, I think we’ll see both teams trying to play an expansive kind of game and get as many tries as we possibly can.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen on Sunday, with the typhoon and the outcome of that. This is probably one of the biggest games that we could play and win, being ranked where we are and they are in the top five in the world, it’s going to be massive.
“We understand the climate that we’re living in but what better opportunity to finish the World Cup? Knowing that we’re on an airplane on Monday, going home, to have a scalp like that would be great.”
SAMOA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool A, Fukuoka Hakatanamori Stadium, Saturday, October 12, kick-off 11.45pm local time/7.45am Irish time):
15. Tim Nanai-Williams (Clermont Auvergne) 15
14. Ah See Tuala (Northampton Saints) 21
13. Alapati Leiua (Bristol) 30
12. Henry Taefu (Western Force) 6
11. Ed Fidow (Worcester Warriors) 11
10. Ulupano Seuteni (Bordeaux-Begles) 5
9. Dwayne Polataivao (Doncaster Knights) 15
1. Logovi’i Mulipola (Newcastle Falcons) 32
2. Seilala Lam (Perpignan) 15
3. Michael Alaalatoa (Crusaders) 4
4. Filo Paulo (London Irish) 26
5. Kane Le’aupepe (Hurricanes) 9
6. Chris Vui (Bristol) 17
7. TJ Ioane (London Irish) 24
8. Jack Lam (Bristol) (capt) 37
16. Ray Niuia (Highlanders) 7
17. Paul Alo-Emile (Stade Francais) 16
18. Jordan Lay (Bristol) 19
19. Piula Faasalele (Toulouse) 20
20. Josh Tyrell (Oyonnax) 10
21. Pele Cowley (Ponsonby) 14
22. Tusi Pisi (Toyota Industries Shuttles) 41
23. Kieron Fonotia (Scarlets) 11