Jones to use Boks as measure

Samoan coach, All Black legend Michael Jones, will use his side’s one-off Test against the Springboks in Johannesburg on Saturday as a measure as to the standard of his World Cup squad.

Unperturbed concerning reports that Jake White will give his second-stringers a run, Jones will name a full-strength side, bar the absence of captain and centre Brian Lima, to take on the form Springboks.

“This game is an important stepping stone for us and forms part of the bigger picture to the Rugby World Cup,” said Jones.

“We need these games more than anything. It is a privilege contesting the Pacific Six Nations tournament and we pretty much smash the hell out of our neighbours. It is really brutal.

“But playing SA is different. This is the ultimate. We do not have competitions like the Super 14 to see where our players are at. This will be a real test mentally and to test the character of our men.

“We have to fight for our piece of the action. It’s about bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots, otherwise global rugby never arrives,” he said.

“The Springboks are potentially the best team in the world right now and it is a chance of a lifetime, a great privilege, to have this opportunity.”

Jones does not believe that any side that Jake White puts out will be anything less than a top-quality South African side, and he realises that his team can not expect any surprise element to their advantage.

The Samoans will field some well-known players, such as Loki Crichton, Lome Fa’atau, Alesana Tuilagi, Semo Sititi, Filipo Levi, Kane Thompson and Mahonri Schwalger.

Such a line-up will insure that the Springboks have more than a practice game on their hands.

Indeed it is heartening to see a touring side prepared to name a full-strength side.

“I have never known the Springboks to take us lightly,” said Jones. “I think this is part of their strategy to rotate players
ahead of the World Cup. I know this will be a strong side.”

Jones made only three changes to his starting 15 that suffered a 27-15 defeat against Australia ‘A’ in the Pacific Nations Cup tournament last weekend for Saturday’s game.

These changes are on the right wing where Fa’atau replaces David Lemi, Justin Purdie replaces Ulia Ulia at flank and Mahonri Schwalger takes over from Muliufi Salanoa at hooker.

Samoa: 15 Gavin Williams, 14 Lome Fa’atau, 13 Anitelela Tuilagi, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Loki Crichton, 9 Steven So’oalo, 8 Semo Sititi (c), 7 Justin Purdie, 6 Daniel Leo, 5 Filipo Levi, 4 Kane Thompson, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Justin Va’a.
Replacements: 16 Muliufi Salanoa, 17 Donald Kerslake, 18 Iosefa Tekori, 19 Alfie Vaeluaga, 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Elvis Sevealii, 22 David Levi.

Date: 9 June 2007
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Malcolm Changleng (Scotland)
Touch judges: Hugh Watkins (Wales), Simon McDowell (Ireland)
Television match official: Ed Murray (Scotland)
Assessor: Steve Hilditch (Ireland)


365 Digital

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