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Rugby Veteran Christian Leali’ifano Leads Samoa’s Charge Against Chile

Rugby Veteran Christian Leali’ifano Leads Samoa’s Charge Against Chile

Samoa’s head coach, Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua, has revealed his formidable match-day 23 squad for the eagerly anticipated face-off against Chile in Pool D at Stade de Bordeaux this coming Saturday. A noteworthy inclusion is the presence of Australian rugby legend Christian Leali’ifano, the top points scorer for Australia during the 2019 Rugby World Cup, who will assume the pivotal role of fly-half.

Starting Lineup:

  1. James Lay
  2. Seilala Lam
  3. Michael Alaalatoa (c)
  4. Chris Vui
  5. Theo McFarland
  6. Taleni Junior Agaese Seu
  7. Fritz Lee
  8. Steven Luatua
  9. Jonathan Taumateine
  10. Christian Leali’ifano
  11. Nigel Ah-Wong
  12. Tumua Manu
  13. Ulupano Junior Seuteni
  14. Danny Toala
  15. Duncan Paia’aua

Replacements:

  1. Sama Malolo
  2. Jordan Lay
  3. Paul Alo-Emile
  4. Sam Slade
  5. Sa Jordan Taufua
  6. Ereatara Enari
  7. Lima Sopoaga
  8. Ed Fidow

Head coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua has wisely retained nine players from the 2019 Rugby World Cup, a testament to their experience and skill. Among these is the iconic Christian Leali’ifano, who lit up the 2019 World Cup with his scoring prowess for Australia. He joins two other international test veterans, Steven Luatua and Lima Sopoaga, who have earned 15 and 16 caps, respectively, for the All Blacks.

A remarkable seven members of this team ply their trade in the French club rugby scene, showcasing their talent and adaptability. These players include Paul Alo-Emile (Stade Français), Seilala Lam (Perpignan), Fritz Lee (Clermont), Tumua Manu (Pau), Duncan Paia’aua (Toulon), Ulupano Junior Seuteni (La Rochelle), and Sa Jordan Taufua (Lyon).

Christian Leali’ifano’s inclusion in the squad is particularly noteworthy as he made his debut for Samoa this year at the age of 35 years and 301 days. As he approaches his 36th birthday on September 22, he stands on the brink of becoming only the second Samoan player to participate in a Rugby World Cup match at 36 or older, following in the footsteps of Peter Fatialofa at RWC 1995 and Tusi Pisi at RWC 2019.

Ed Fidow, the sole Samoan try-scorer from the 2019 Rugby World Cup, is set to ignite the field once again. His memorable double against Russia in Japan has earned him a well-deserved place in the match-day squad.

Duncan Paia’aua has been a consistent presence for Samoa this season, showcasing his versatility by playing every minute across all four tests. His recent two-game try-scoring streak is a testament to his evolving prowess.

Tumua Manu, a rising star in Samoan rugby, has amassed five tries in just seven tests since his debut last year against Tonga. He has been a standout performer this season, leading the team in line breaks (6) and defenders beaten (8).

With Christian Leali’ifano at the helm, and a mix of seasoned veterans and emerging talents, Samoa’s lineup promises an exciting and competitive clash against Chile.

Mark Z

Passionate Blogger, Writer, Creative Explorer. Journey with me as we explore travel, lifestyle, technology, culture, and more. Engaging narratives, captivating content, and thought-provoking insights. Let's connect, share ideas, and celebrate the joy of storytelling. Laughter included. Join the adventure at https://rwcglobally.com/. Contact: mark_z@rwcglobally.com. Let's explore, discover, and learn together!

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