Samoa coach Stephen Betham says he’s selected a side that is capable of taking full advantage of the wounded South Africans on Saturday
Samoa opened their campaign with a 25-16 win over United States while the Springboks suffered the greatest upset in World Cup history losing 34-32 to Japan and Betham said he expected an onslaught from the opening salvo in the Pool B clash in Birmingham.
“We’re expecting massive warfare,” said Betham after announcing his team which saw veteran fly-half Tusi Pisi dropped to the bench and replaced by Mike Stanley.
“But in saying that we can’t come to a war with our hands and a pocket knife, we’ve got to bring all we’ve got and face up.
“We’ve always expected South Africa to be our toughest opponent here and that hasn’t changed one bit. We expect them to be even harder now because that surprise factor is not in there.
“I think they are going to attack us right from the start. The first 15 minutes will be crucial.
“We have got to man up in that first 15 minutes because if we shy out in any way then it is going to be a long day at the office.
“We are not expecting anything less from South Africa. We are expecting a fired up South African side: a side that is out to prove a point, a side that is hungry for a win.
“They have got all the professional players to do that, and it’s just a case of them gelling.”
Stanley, 25, will take over as Samoa’s playmaker as Tusi Pisi paid the price for erratic kicking against the United States.
Betham said that Stanley got the nod because he brings different facets to the game plan — he had patently refused to criticise Pisi, 33, despite him missing several penalties against the Americans.
“The two fly-halves bring different strengths and weaknesses,” said Betham.
“We’ve opted to start off with Michael Stanley: he brings different strengths, and Pisi to come off the bench and hopefully finish the game strong.”
Team: Tim Nanai-Williams; Ken Pisi, Paul Perez, Rey Lee-Lo, Alesana Tuilagi; Mike Stanley, Kahn Fotuali’i; Ofisa Treviranus (capt), Jack Lam, TJ Ioane; Iosefa Tekori, Teofilo Paulo; Anthony Perenise, Motu Matu’u, Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: Ole Avei, Viliamu Afatia, Census Johnston, Faifili Levave, Vavae Tuilagi, Vavao Afemai, Tusi Pisi, George Pisi
Coach: Stephen Betham (SAM)