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Leone Nakarawa

Leone Nakarawa (left) receiving his awards

Glasgow Warriors lock Leone Nakarawa was celebrating last night after picking up 2 awards at the Pacific Island Players’ Player of the Year Awards.

The Fijian international won the Pacific Island Players Association (PIPA) 2015 Fijian Players’ Player of the Year Award as well as the overall Digicel Pacific Island Players’ Player of the Year Award.

The 27-year-old was a stand-out performer for Fiji during the recent 2015 Rugby World Cup, rated by many onlookers and commentators as 1 of the best players of the tournament.

Named in tournament sponsors’ Société Générale’s dream team, Nakarawa scored a try in Fiji’s 47 / 15 victory over Uruguay, as well as appearing in all 10 of Fiji’s Test matches throughout the year.

Prior to the tournament, the 6ft 6″ lock had been named the Man Of The Match for Glasgow’s Pro12 2015 Grand Final in Belfast, as Warriors defeated Munster 31 / 13.

Nakarawa, who joined Glasgow from Saracens in August 2013, has made 46 appearances for Glasgow, scoring 10 points in the process.

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Stephen Betham

Stephen Betham

Samoa coach Stephen Betham has resigned after the Pacific islanders’ disappointing Rugby World Cup performance, chief executive Vincent Fepuleai said Monday.

Samoa Rugby Union’s Fepuleai said more was expected from the team, who exited in the pool stage after losses to Japan, South Africa and Scotland.

He said that a review into the campaign was underway but Betham had already decided to leave after 3-and-a-half years in the job.

“Stephen has called it a day, I guess, and there will be opportunities there and I think we will go through the proper process in recruitment of a new head coach and so forth,” Fepuleai said.

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Stephen Betham, Samoa head coach

Stephen Betham, Samoa head coach

Samoa coach Stephen Betham claimed Thursday the Pacific island teams had been singled out over rough play and were warned about their discipline before the Rugby World Cup began.

As the penalties and Yellow Cards mount up against Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, Betham said the teams were “tainted. We were warned at the start.”

His outburst came as Samoa considered appealing a 5-week ban on Alesana Tuilagi for kneeing Harumichi Tatekawa as the Japanese player tried to tackle him.

The judicial ruling has been widely criticised on social media by former players as video replays indicated a problem with the technique of the much smaller Tatekawa as he tried to stop Tuilagi in full flight.

“We are feeling the pain,” Betham said of not being able to field the giant Newcastle wing in their final pool game against Scotland on Saturday.

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SamoaSamoa coach Stephen Betham made 7 changes for the Pacific Islanders’ final Pool B game against Scotland in Newcastle on Saturday.

The 26 / 5 defeat against Japan in Samoa’s previous match prompted Betham to field new combinations in the midfield and among his loose forwards.

Rey Lee-Lo and George Pisi will form a new centre pairing, while Maurie Faasavalu, Jack Lam and Alafoti Faosiliva will be together in the loose forwards for the 1st time.

Samoa, who will be captained by scrumhalf Kahn Fotuali’i, cannot advance beyond the pool stages.

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ScotlandHead Coach Vern Cotter today named the Scotland team to face Samoa in this Saturday’s decisive Rugby World Cup Pool B match at St James’ Park, Newcastle (kick-off 15:30 SA Time, 14:30 UK Time, 13:30 GMT).

A win would guarantee the Scots a place in the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup for the 7th time since the competition’s inauguration in 1987.

Standing in their way are the formidable Pacific Islanders who, despite being out of contention for the last 8, will look to end their campaign on a positive note.

Scotland Head Coach Vern Cotter, said: “Every Test match is a ‘must-win’ when you represent your country.

“We’ve put in a huge amount of work to get us to this point, and our performances and commitment have put us in a position to qualify for the last eight. We’ll need to be up to the challenge, enjoy the opportunity, and maintain the awareness needed to play to our strengths and impose our game.”

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Alesana Tuilagi

Alesana Tuilagi

Samoa wing Alesana Tuilagi has been suspended for 5 weeks for striking a player with his knee in their game against Japan.

It means he will not be available for Samoa’s final pool fixture against Scotland on Saturday and will not be available to turn out for his Newcastle Falcons club side before 10 November.

Tuilagi was cited for kneeing Harumichi Tatekawa in the 2nd minute of the match, won last weekend by Japan by 26 / 5.

He denied foul play. But after reviewing all camera angles the citing was upheld by judicial officer Antony Davies.

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Alesana Tuilagi

Alesana Tuilagi

Faifili Levave

Faifili Levave

Samoa’s hopes of rescuing something from a wretched Rugby World Cup campaign suffered a new blow after Faifili Levave and Alesana Tuilagi were cited over incidents during Saturday’s defeat by Japan.

Levave was sin-binned for the offence he has been cited for by independent Citing Commissioner Yves Thieffine, which is for “playing the opponent without the ball”.

Tuilagi, who enjoyed a successful spell with Leicester Tigers finishing leading try scorer in 2012, has been cited for an offence which was not seen at the time by South African referee Craig Joubert.

Tuilagi was accused of an alleged foul “striking with the knee” in the 2nd minute of the Pool B match in Milton Keynes, said a World Rugby statement. Japan won the game 26 / 5.

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SamoaJapan-Rugby-LogoSamoa (0) 5 / 26 (20) Japan (Final Score)

Samoa and Japan did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

Staium MK, Milton Keynes, England at 15:30 SA Time (14:30 BST, 13:30 GMT, Sunday 03:30 Samoa Time, Sunday 02:30 Japan Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.


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SamoaUSASamoa (14) 25 / 16 (8) USA Eagles (Final Score)

Samoa and the USA Eagles did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at

Brighton Community Centre, Brighton, England at 13:00 SA Time (12:00 BST, 11:00 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.


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Rugby World Cup 2015A popular topic of debate heading into the Rugby World Cup is that of eligibility, particularly that resulting from the residency method. We take a look at the foreign-born players in each squad, where they were born and how they are eligible.

An interesting fact – only Argentina can claim that all 31 players in their squad are native to their country. The other 19 teams all have players born abroad, including significant numbers in some of rugby’s most powerful nations.

All told, Rugby World Cup 2015 will have a grand total of 33 countries involved in the tournament. Players born in various African countries –  Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Zimbabwe join the participating Namibia and South Africa. Zimbabwe has players representing 4 countries, more than any other non-competitor.

Spain is another country not present at the Rugby World Cup who have players representing multiple countries while other countries include Belgium, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and the Netherlands are also all represented.

Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa lead the way in terms of players representing others at the Rugby World Cup.

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BarbariansBakkies Botha will captain the Barbarians in the 1st rugby match staged at the Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The 2007 Rugby World Cup winner leads the invitation side against Samoa on Saturday as rugby arrives at the iconic London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venue. His team contains international stars from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as well as a Samoa representative in Paul Williams.

Botha made 85 appearances for the Springboks and is the most experienced player in a group with a total of 455 Test caps between them.

The starting line-up also includes Benn Alexander (72 caps), Pierre Spies (53), Carl Hayman (45), Wynand Olivier (38), Luke Burgess (37), and Saia Fainga’a (36).

Equally exciting are the trio of uncapped players who include Glasgow Warriors’ giant wing Taqele Naiyaravoro, the Japan-based New Zealander Dwayne Sweeney and athletic Melbourne Rebels lock Luke Jones.

Former All Blacks Jamie Joseph and Carlos Spencer are coaching the Barbarians, who celebrate their 125th anniversary this year.

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BarbariansThe Barbarians have named 4 Rugby World Cup winners in an initial group of 8 players in their squad to face Samoa at the Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, next weekend.

The teams are taking part in the 1st rugby match played at the iconic London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venue next Saturday (29 August).

South Africa’s Bakkies Botha and Wynand Olivier lifted the trophy in 2007, while New Zealand’s Ali Williams and Adam Thomson were victorious in 2011.

They will be joined by more famous forwards in the shape of South Africa No 8 Pierre Spies, New Zealand prop Carl Hayman, and Australia prop Benn Robinson and flank Liam Gill.

Between them, the 8 players have amassed 342 international caps with Botha retiring from professional rugby later this year having made 85 appearances for the Springboks.

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SamoaManu Samoa’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup features all 3 Pisi brothers – Tusiata, Ken and George as well as some other notable inclusions.

Leicester Tigers prop Logovii Mulipola is 1 of 11 English-based players to be selected, and there is a return for Hurricanes midfielder Rey Lee-Lo who, like the Pisis, were not part of the recent squad that finished 2nd to Fiji at the Pacific Nations Cup.

Mulipola has not appeared for his country for over a year while the last of Lee-Lo’s 2 caps came against England on the 2014 November tour.

The Pacific Nations Cup did present an opportunity for other players to put their hands up for selection, though. Locally based trio, prop Jake Grey, scrumhalf Vavao Afemai and goal-kicking flyhalf Patrick Faapale, all did enough in North America to warrant inclusion despite stiff competition from professional players.

Samoan coach Stephen Betham said that the tournament had been invaluable from a Rugby World Cup point of view, even if the title eluded them.

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Fiji celebrate winning the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup

Guinness PRO12 medal winners Leone Nakarawa (no. 5 lock) and Niko Matawalu (scrumhalf) played a big role in helping Fiji win the latest Pacific Nations Cup, beating Samoa in the final.

The Glasgow Warriors duo from the 2014/15 season crossed the line four times between them with Nakarawa dotting down twice.  Matawalu scored one try but could easily have scored another, instead he crossed the try line after a trade mark scything break and then past the ball to his captain to score.  The Warriors player of the season will be sorely missed at Scotstoun next season with the star scrumhalf having made a move to Bath.

For those who have not seen these two Fijians in action I would tip them as exciting players to watch out for during the Rugby World Cup.

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Vunga Lilo

Vunga Lilo

Flyhalf Michael Stanley converted a penalty in the final moments as Samoa stormed back to tie Fiji 30 / 30 at the Pacific Nations Cup.

Anthony Perenise, Paul Perez and TJ Ioane each scored 2nd-half tries for Samoa, who beat the United States 21 / 16 in their opening game last Saturday.

In the other contests the United States of America (USA Eagles) held on to beat Japan 23 / 18 and Tonga stopped Canada 28 / 18.

Fullback Metuisela Talebula and Leone Nakarawa scored tries as Fiji wasted no time getting on the board before leading 17 / 10 at halftime.

Gabiriele Lovobalavu scored Fiji’s 4th try early in the 2nd half and, after flyhalf Ben Volavola converted to make it 27 / 10, it looked like the Fijians were off to the races.

But the Samoans roared back and were able to level the score at 27 / 27 with 5 minutes left in regulation time.

Volavola kicked a penalty 3 minutes later and Fiji were back on top by 3 points. That set the stage for Stanley’s penalty goal just before the final whistle to make it 30 / 30.

Samoa’s next game is Wednesday against winless Canada, while Fiji face Japan on the same day.

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USASamoaIn a sneak preview of their opening match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, world No 9 Samoa kicked off their Pacific Nations Cup campaign on Saturday with a 21 / 16 win over the USA.

Samoa, who dropped a close 25 / 16 decision to top ranked New Zealand earlier this month, jumped out to a 21 / 3 halftime lead against the Americans then held on for the victory at Avaya Stadium.

The Samoans used just 5 players from their game against the All Blacks.

Samoa and the 16th ranked USA open their World Cup quests with a match against each other on September 20 at the 30 750 seat Brighton Community Stadium in England.

In the earlier Pacific Nations Cup game, Japan easily defeated Canada 20 / 6.

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New ZealandGeorge Moala is set to make his All Black debut when New Zealand meet Samoa in a historic 1-off Test in Apia on Wednesday.

Moala is the only uncapped player in the starting 15.

3 More uncapped players have been named on the replacement bench – with prop Nepo Laulala, scrumhalf Brad Weber and midfielder Charlie Ngatai all in line for their 1st test appearances.

The starting 15 features a wealth of experience in the forward pack, with 648 Test caps up front – courtesy of a front row of Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu and Owen Franks, locks Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano and the familiar loose forward trio of Jerome Kaino, captain Richie McCaw and Kieran Read.

There are a further 224 Test caps in the starting backline, with scrumhalf Andy Ellis returning to the All Blacks for the 1st time since 2011, Daniel Carter is at flyhalf, with Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty in the midfield.

Moala is on the right wing, Charles Piutau is on the left and Israel Dagg is at fullback.

On the bench, hooker Hika Elliot continues his remarkable comeback after last playing for the All Blacks in 2012 and undergoing neck surgery in 2013.

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Census Johnston

Census Johnston

Samoa have called veteran prop Census Johnston out of retirement to bolster their pack in Wednesday’s historic 1-off Test against the All Blacks in Apia.

“We simply couldn’t leave him out,” coach Stephan Betham said when naming his team on Monday.

The 34-year-old Toulouse prop, who has played 47 Tests for Samoa since 2005, had announced his retirement in April – but has been training with the Samoa squad in recent weeks.

Chiefs fullback Tim Nanai Williams is the only uncapped player in the starting 15.

Outside back Faialaga Afamasaga, the only Samoa-based member of the squad, is set to make his debut off the bench.

New Zealand-born Nanai Williams, a cousin of All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams, has previously represented New Zealand as a Sevens player, but switched allegiance to his parents’ home country last year to boost his World Cup and Olympic prospects.

All but 5 members of the 23-man Samoa squad are based in Europe – including captain and back row forward Ofisa Treviranus, who plays for London Irish.

The match will be the 1st appearance in Samoa by the All Blacks, who have won all 5 previous Tests between the 2 countries played in New Zealand.

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New ZealandNew Zealand All Blacks coach Steve Hansen brought in some reinforcements as his team gears up for a brutal Test against Samoa in Apia next week Wednesday.

With a number of key All Blacks involved in the Super Rugby Final between the Hurricanes and Highlanders, Hansen wanted to add some depth to the squad training in Auckland this week.

17 Members of Hansen’s 41-player squad were ruled out because of their involvement in Saturday’s Super Rugby decider.

3 More players – uncapped Chiefs midfield backs Charlie Ngatai and Seta Tamanivalu, as well as Crusaders utility Tom Taylor – have been brought into the New Zealand camp in Auckland.

With injury issues surrounding some others, Hansen initially announced 2 stand-by players – scrumhalf Andy Ellis and uncapped prop Nepo Laulala.

He had already boosted numbers last week when 3 uncapped players joined a training camp in Auckland – midfield back George Moala, scrumhalf Brad Weber and prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi.

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SamoaSamoa have named a 27-man squad heavy with overseas-based players for next week’s historic 1-off Test against the All Blacks from New Zealand.

The 8 July fixture will be the 1st time the All Blacks will play a Test match in the Pacific Islands, after previous trips to play Fiji were not given that status.

Prime minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegao, who is also chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union, announced the squad on Tuesday in the Samoan capital Apia, where the match will be played,.

Space in the All Blacks’ pre-World Cup schedule was found for the match after he and the Prime Minister of New Zealand joined calls for the game to be set up. It is expected to be the biggest sporting event in Samoa’s history.

The starting line-up has yet to be confirmed but London Irish flanker Ofisa Treviranus was named earlier this week as captain.

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Ofisa Treviranus

Ofisa Treviranus

Ofisa Treviranus will lead Samoa’s World Cup campaign in September and will get a taste of captaincy when they go up against world champions New Zealand in a 1-off Test on 8 July.

The 31-year-old flank, who plies his trade with London Irish in the Premiership, said he had just been focusing on making the starting lineup for the fixture – the 1st ever visit to Apia by the All Blacks.

“It’s always an honour to represent Samoa, but it is something very special when you are asked to captain your team,” Treviranus said in a statement on Monday.

Treviranus, a powerful ball carrier known for his big defensive tackles, previously captained a Samoa side to victory in the Sevens World Series in 2010.

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South AfricaSamoaJunior Springboks (21) 40 / 8 (3) Samoa (Final Score)

South Africa Under 20 and Samoa Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby

Under 20 Championship at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma at 18:30 SA Time (18:30 Italy Time, 16:30 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 5 on TV in SA.


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Tim Nanai-Williams

Tim Nanai-Williams

Samoa have named an enlarged 58-man playing squad which includes Chiefs back Tim Nanai-Williams who is pushing for his eligibility through the Sevens loophole.

Nanai-Williams has been included but will need to play in at least 2 Rounds of the Sevens World Series for Samoa to be eligible for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and Rugby World Cup in England later this year.

Other notable inclusions in the squad are Newcastle flyer Sinoti Sinoti, Bordeaux’s Peter Saili, Sharks’ Paul Perez, former Stormer and current Wasps wing Sailosi Tagicakibau, Alesana Tuilagi – brother of Manu, former Waratahs wing Alofa Alofa and Hurricanes centre Reynold Lee Lo.

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BarbariansThe Barbarians will make London’s Olympic Stadium their home for the first rugby match to be played at the iconic venue ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup.

The world famous invitation side have a number of high profile international matches throughout the year in celebration of their 125th anniversary, including this fixture against Samoa on Saturday 29 August (15:00 BST) at the Olympic Stadium.

The match will be delivered in partnership between the Barbarians, E20 Stadium LLP (a joint venture between the London Legacy Development Corporation and Newham Council), and England Rugby 2015, Tournament Organisers for Rugby World Cup 2015.

The match is also part of England Rugby 2015’s testing programme and will allow the organisers to trial aspects of match day delivery ahead of the venue hosting five Rugby World Cup matches, including the Bronze Final, later this year.

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Tim Nanai-Williams

Tim Nanai-Williams

Versatile Chiefs back Tim Nanai-Williams, while pushing for qualification to play for Samoa, could be forced to choose club over country.

The 25-year-old is pursuing a loophole through the international Sevens circuit that will allow him to play for Samoa at the World Cup later this year because his parents were born in the islands.

If his Chiefs team make a deep run in the Super Rugby play-offs however, he will miss the historic test match between the All Blacks and Samoa in Apia this July.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has made it clear that Nanai-Williams will be putting his franchise first in the event of a clash as they will still be in the Super Rugby window.

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Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi

Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi

Samoan players are disputing the claims of their prime minister that a dispute with their national rugby union has been resolved.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who is also the Samoan Rugby Union Chairman, told Television New Zealand that he had spoken to the players and the dispute is under control.

But lock Daniel Leo, who is spokesman for the Samoan team, told Radio Live on Wednesday “we haven’t even had a chance to meet with them, let alone sort anything out, so it’s stalling tactics.”

The International Rugby Players Association also issued a statement saying “the situation is absolutely not under control. There’s a lack of urgency from the Samoan Rugby Union to address issues and frustrations are building within the rugby community.”

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Gilbert Rugby BallOnly one more Internatonal Test to be played today, that between Georgia vs Japan at 17:00 SA Time and Georgian Time, the rest of the results are in already!

Some surprising results all around, with the Italian Azzurri holding the Springboks to a limited win, Ireland narrowly beating the Wallabies, Wales containing the All Blacks untill the 69th minute before letting in 3 quick tries and France falling to a spirited Argentinian Pumas side.

The rest of the results, well they are pure wall decorations, for want of a better expletive.

The Weekend’s International Results are as follows:

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Four International Tests overlapped or at least partly overlapped one another between 18:30 to almost midnight on Saturday 22 November 2014, SA Time.
Seeing as all 4 matches were broadcast LIVE on TV in South Africa… although on 2 different SuperSport channels, we hosted all FOUR in one GLOBAL ARTICLE!


IrelandAustraliaIreland (20) 26 / 23 (20) Wallabies (Final Score)

Ireland and the Australian Wallabies did battle in the End Of Year Tours at

Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland at 18:30 SA Time (16:30 BST & GMT, 03:30 Sunday AEST).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.


WalesNew ZealandWales (3) 16 / 34 (3) All Blacks (Final Score)

Wales and the New Zealand All Blacks did battle in the End Of Year Tours at

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales at 19:30 SA Time (17:30 BST & GMT, 06:30 Sunday NZ Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.


EnglandSamoaEngland (13) 28 / 9 (6) Samoa (Final Score)

England and Samoa did battle in the End Of Year Tours at

Twickenham, London, England at 21:00 SA Time (19:00 BST & GMT, 09:00 Sunday Samoa Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.


FranceArgentinaFrance (3) 13 / 18 (15) Los Pumas (Final Score)

France and the Argentinian Pumas did battle in the End Of Year Tours at

Stade de France, Paris, France at 22:00 SA Time (21:00 French Time, 20:00 GMT, 17:00 Arg Time).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 6 on TV in SA.


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George Ford

George Ford

George Ford is set to make his first Test start after being selected at flyhalf in a revamped England side to play Samoa at Twickenham on Saturday.

Ford, all of whose four previous Test appearances have come as a replacement, now finds himself in the No 10 shirt with regular fly-half Owen Farrell moved across to inside centre by England coach Stuart Lancaster despite unimpressive showings in this month’s defeats by world champions New Zealand and South Africa

Farrell played the first two matches of his England career, in 2012, at inside centre when he was also alongside Brad Barritt, who is again set to be his midfield partner against Samoa this weekend.

“It’s great to give George a start in this series after he missed the summer tour through injury,” Lancaster said in a Rugby Football Union statement published on Wednesday.

“George has been impressive in camp and is now fully up to speed with the game plan and is ready to run the game. Owen switches to 12 and I’m sure will support George well.”

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SamoaSamoa’s Census Johnston is set to win his 50th international cap this weekend after being named in the side to play England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The tighthead prop, who has also played three Tests for the combined Pacific Islands team, lines up in the front row with hooker Ti’iPaulo and loosehead prop Sakaria Taulafo.

Samoa have made six changes to the starting XV that beat Canada 23-13 in Vannes, north-west France, last Friday.

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Stuart Lancaster

Stuart Lancaster

England coach Stuart Lancaster made three changes to his matchday squad to face Samoa on Saturday, as he looks to end a five-match losing streak.

Richard Wigglesworth, James Haskell and Billy Twelvetrees will make their first appearances in a matchday squad in the year-end Tests, after being named among the 23 players to face Samoa in the third international this month.

Saracens scrumhalf Wigglesworth, who won the last of his 14 Test caps on the 2013 tour to Argentina, replaces the starting No 9 from the three-point defeats to New Zealand and South Africa, Harlequins’ Danny Care.

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IRBThe International Rugby Board said Monday it wanted no repeat of Samoa’s threatened boycott of this weekend’s match against England ahead of next year’s World Cup.

Samoa’s players had warned they were contemplating pulling out of Saturday’s clash at Twickenham as a protest against their treatment by the Samoa Rugby Union.

IRB chief executive Brett Gosper, speaking at the World Rugby ConfEx in London said talks involving the SRU, the players, the International Rugby Players’ Association and the IRB meant “there is no threat to the game whatsoever at Twickenham”.

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