3 Jul 2011

Sport: Injuries force Manu Samoa into late reshuffle

3:01 pm on 3 July 2011

A depleted Manu Samoa team is still confident they can start their Pacific Nations Cup campaign in winning form when they face Japan in Tokyo tonight.

Already missing a handful of players due to Super Rugby commitments, coach Titimaea Tafua has been forced to rejuggle his line-up after the injury withdrawals of lock Kane Thompson and number eight George Stowers.

Tafua says losing a couple of long-standing members is a big blow.

"George Stowers is one of the experienced and he's one of our best players of our forwards and so is Kane. Kane is one of our experienced locks and has been replaced by Daniel Leo - he's the Manu for many years, he's good too and George Stowers is being replaced by Taiasina Tuifua."

Titimaea Tafua says he Japan's strengths lie in their quick backline and strong scrummaging ability which Samoa will need to shut down.