24 Nov 2018

Sport: Manu Samoa look to end difficult year on winning note

10:16 am on 24 November 2018

Manu Samoa have made four changes to the starting fifteen as they seek to end a difficult year on a winning note against Spain in Madrid.

Former captain Ofisa Treviranus will make his first appearance on tour at number eight in place of Josh Tyrell, while James Lay replaces the injured Paul Alo Emile at tighthead prop.

Ofisa Treviranus will make his first test start against Romania since the 2015 World Cup.

Former captain Ofisa Treviranus is back in the Manu Samoa team. Photo: AFP

In the backs, Melani Matavao replaces Dwayne Polataivao behind the scrum while Alofa Alofa starts on the right wing, with Ed Fidow swapping to the left and JJ Taulagi replacing Ah See Tuala at fullback.

Piula Fa'asalele and captain Jack Lam are both expected to play but are have been bracketed on the flanks with Faifili Levave and Iakopo Mapu.

Crusaders prop Donald Brighouse and Western Force midfielder Henry Taefu are poised to play their first test of the year off the bench.

After a last-gasp loss to the USA and letting a 16 point lead slip against Georgia last weekend, coach Steve Jackson says the Manu are determined to salvage some pride.

"The only way we can rectify things is go out there and put a really strong performance on Saturday and I'm sure these guys will do that. If we can play the sort of bits and pieces from the USA game mixed with the first half of the Georgia game I think we will be fine and I think we will be able to beat most teams that we come up against.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity for these guys to finish this tour on a high in Madrid and as coaches and the management group it's just about us trying to get them up."

Manu Samoa came up short against Georgia.

Manu Samoa are yet to win on their November tour. Photo: Facebook/Georgian Rugby

Samoa have only won two of their six tests to date in 2018.

Manu Samoa team:

1. Logovi'i Mulipola, 2. Motu Matu'u, 3. James Lay, 4. Filo Paulo, 5. Kane Leaupepe, 6. Piula Fa'asalele/Faifili Levave, 7. Jack Lam (c)/Iakopo Mapu, 8. Ofisa

Treviranus, 9. Melani Matavao, 10. Tusi Pisi, 11. Ed Fidow, 12. Rey Lee-Lo, 13. Alapati Leiua, 14. Alofa Alofa, 15. JJ Taulagi.

Reserves: 16. Ray Niuia, 17. Donald Brighouse, 18. Jordan Lay, 19. Faifili Levave / Ben Nee-nee, 20. Iakopo Mapu/ Faifili Levave, 21. Pele Cowley, 22. D'Angelo Leuila, 23. Henry Taefu.