Samoa bid to secure final spot

PRIOR to Scotland’s clash with hosts South Africa, buoyant Samoa will face Italy, who lost 44-10 to the Springboks in the opening round of the three-week, four-team tournament.

Samoa combined a free-flowing attacking game with physicality up front to beat Scotland, while Italy’s confidence following a strong Six Nations showing was dented in a subdued performance against South Africa.

The winner of that tussle will likely earn the right to face South Africa in the tournament final at Loftus Versfeld, with the Samoans best-placed in the mini league standings for a rare shot at the Springboks.

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“It is something we always set out to do, to play the likes of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia,” Samoa coach Stephen Betham said. “We’d love to play them (South Africa) but we still have Italy. We’ve put that (a game against South Africa) on the back burner.”

Italy: A Masi, G Venditti, G Canale, G Garcia, T Iannone, L Orquera, E Gori, S Parisse, M Bergamasco, A Zanni, M Bortolami, V Bernabo, M Castrogiovanni, L Ghiraldini, A De Marchi. Subs: A Manici, M Rizzo, L Cittadini, A Pavanello, M Vosawai, T Botes, A di Bernardo, L McLean.

Samoa: J Sooialo, A Leiua, P Williams (captain), J Leota, A Tuilagi, T Pisi, J Sua, Taiasina Tuifua, J Lam, O Treviranus, D Leo, T Paulo, C Johnston, W Ole Avei, S Taulafo. Subs: Ti’i Paulo, L Mulipola, J Johnston, K Thompson, J Poluleuligaga, B Vaaulu, S Mapusua, P Faasalele.