Mike Stanley on bench for Samoa’s Rugby World Cup clash against Japan

For example, even if South Africa lose to Scotland on Saturday – but get another two bonus points while Scotland fail to pick one up – the former world champions could still finish above Vern Cotter’s team.


Samoa and Japan will send out their most experienced Rugby World Cup teams.

“It’s a World Cup and upsets happen”, said the Samoa coach, Stephen Betham. Hoggy himself has said if they start as poorly as they have done, we’ll be 20-30 points down in the first half – and I just can’t see us making that up.

‘We need to move the ball around. It’s do or die for both teams, we know the situation they’re in and I’m sure they’re feeling what we’re feeling, I’m sure they’ll rise to the occasion this weekend. “We have welcomed him back with open arms”.

South Africa bounced back from their shock-loss to Japan by thrashing the Manu 46-6 and have seven points, three clear of both Samoa and Japan.

The 28-year-old fly-half is one of five changes made by coach Eddie Jones to the side that got a dose of reality, after their magnificent win over South Africa, in a 45-10 hammering by Scotland last week. The veteran lock Kane Thompson returns from suspension to make his first appearance in the tournament while Johnny Leota comes in at inside-centre. However, Pisi is expecting his club team-mates to rise to the occasion once again.

Japan totally deserved that win and Eddie Jones has certainly proved what an excellent job he’s done with them.

“Playing Scotland after South Africa we only had four days turnaround, and we had a four-and-a-half-hour bus trip”, he lamented.

“They like to play the game at a tempo. The way our scrum’s developed in the last two years we take a fair bit of confidence into the game”. It will be good to catch up with them after the game.

‘Samoa are very much a momentum team. Long-standing issues with their union regarding pay, selection and staff infrastructure culminated in a strike threat before the 2014 autumn global against England at Twickenham.

Ieremia said: ‘Japan are the darlings of world rugby at the moment.

“He’s an incredibly tough player and that is why he’s picked”, said Jones. “We have ex-players who have helped with that stuff off the field”.


South Africa walked away with numerous injuries against Samoa, but we have Gilchrist now ruled out with a groin injury and Russell a major doubt after twisting his ankle on Sunday.

Column: Excited about the big match in Newcastle