Sunday, July 17, 2011


Samoa v Australia in Sydney (World Cup Warm-up test)

Venue: ANZ Stadium

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Test matches between these two Oceania nations are few and far between. It’s been 6 years since their last clash, a 74-7 drubbing from Australia. For both side it will their first serious hit out in the lead up games to the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Samoa has already played 3 tests in the 2011 Pacific Nations Cup (which they lost) but without a number of leading players.

Queensland Red players Saia and Anthony Faingaa, James Horwill, Radike Samo, Will Genia and Quade Cooper are rested after the Queensland Red’s Super 15 win last weekend. Rod Davies was originally to be rested but an injury to James O’Connor saw him called into the side to make his test rugby debut. Ben Robinson’s injury (which will see him miss the World Cup) and James Slipper’s injury has further weakened the side. However, there is enough depth around Australian rugby these days for those positions to be reasonably covered. It is also important that the back-up players are exposed to international test rugby. The old saying that you team is only as good as your reserves will test Australia tonight.

Samoa has had a less than successful build up to this game. As usual, getting the best Samoan players on the paddock at the same time is not a luxury available to the Pacific Island teams until a month before any Rugby World Cup. Their results in the Pacific Nations Cup just ended reads 1 win, 2 losses. They lost the Cup which they won last year. The arrival in Sydney of Seilala Mapusua, Alesana Tuilagi, Sailosi Tagicakibau, and Kahn Fotuali'i will strengthen the Samoans but lack of team work and time to master combinations will tell against the Samoans in the end.

Previous Encounters
11.06.2005 Australia 74-7 in Sydney
26.09.1998 Australia 25-13 in Brisbane (WCQ Oceania , Rnd C)
06.08.1994 Australia 73-3 in Sydney
09.10.1991 Australia 9-3 in Pontypool (World Cup)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Australia 4th, Samoa 14th
Oceania Table-Australia 2nd, Samoa 3rd

IRB Ranking Points
Australia 87.45, Samoa 73.90

Prediction: Australia by 19

The teams


15 Mark Gerrard, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 Rocky Elsom (c), 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu.
16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Dan Vickerman, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Will Genia, 22 Kurtley Beale.
Head Coach: Robbie Deans

Rod Davies makes his test debut for Australia after James O’Connor dropped out due to injury. Mark Gerrard returns to test rugby for the first time since the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Sitaleki Timani also makes his test debut. His brother Sione played for Tonga in this years Pacific Nations Cup.


15 Paul Williams, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 George Pisi, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 George Stowers, 7 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 6 Taisina Tuifu'a, 5 Daniel Leo, 4 Kane Thompson, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Mahonri Schwalger (c), 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Census Johnston, 18 Filipo Lavea Levi, 19 Manaia Salavea, 20 Brenton Helleur, 21 Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu, 22 James So'oialo
Head Coach: Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua

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