Samoa name team for Ireland with Euro flavour

Samoa have unveiled a starting side to play Ireland at Lansdowne Road this weekend which includes eight European based players from either the Premiership or the Top 14 in France.

The Pacific Islanders have two powerful wings in Wasps’ David Lemi and Alesana Tuilagi, who played for Leicester in the 2009 European Cup final won by Irish province Leinster.

Inside centre Seilala Mapusua has established himself as a strong running midfielder for Premiership side London Irish, for whom he played in a recent European Cup pool match against Munster, while outside half Tasea Lavea plays for French Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne.

The side is captained by hooker Mahonri Schwalger, who plays his rugby with New Zealand province Taranaki.

London Irish No 8 George Stowers anchors a pack made up of players, with the exception of former Connacht star Ofisa Trevarinus, who currently play in either the New Zealand provincial competitions or in Europe.

Saturday’s match will be Samoa’s first of a European tour that subsequently sees them in action against England and Scotland.

Ireland, beaten 23-21 by world champions South Africa last weekend, made 10 changes and one positional switch to the team that lost to the Springboks when coach Declan Kidney named his starting XV on Tuesday.

This Saturday’s match will be the fifth international between Ireland and Samoa and first since 2003.

Ireland have won three of those previous Tests, with Samoa’s lone victory a 40-25 success in Dublin in 1996.

Samoa (15-1)

Paul Williams; David Lemi, George Pisi, Seilala Mapusua, Alesana Tuilagi; Tasesa Lavea, Kahn Fotualii; George Stowers, Manaia Salavea, Ofisa Trevarinus; Kane Thompsen, Filipo Lavea Levi; Anthony Perenise, Mahonri Schwalger (capt), Sakaria Taulafo

Replacements: Tii Paulo, Simon Lemalu, Iosefa Tekori, Afa Aiono, Junior Poluleuligaga, Gavin Williams, Jamie Helleur

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