Rugby: Lemi returns as Samoa shuffle backs to face Wales

Kahn Fotuali'i has been drafted in to start at Millennium Stadium.  Photo / AP
Kahn Fotuali'i has been drafted in to start at Millennium Stadium. Photo / AP

Samoa have rejigged their back division as part of six changes to the starting lineup for tomorrow's international against Wales.

David Lemi will return as captain on the left wing at Millennium Stadium in place of Robert Lilomaiava, who scored four tries in the 42-12 win over Canada.

Halfback Kahn Fotuali'i, centre Paul Williams and fullback Fa'atoina Autagavaia also come in as Samoa look to avenge the 17-10 loss to Wales in last year's World Cup and claim another victory in Cardiff, after wins in 1991 and 1999. Lock Daniel Leo and flanker Maurie Fa'asavalu are the other changes.

Wales are reeling after losing to Argentina on Sunday, their fourth straight defeat, and captain Sam Warburton has dropped to the bench for the make-or-break international, with interim coach Rob Howley making a raft of changes from the team that lost to Argentina.

The 12-26 loss to the Pumas at Cardiff was Wales' fourth loss in a row after a whitewash at the hands of Australia, who beat them 3-0 in a test series in June.

The All Blacks, who have not lost to the Welsh since 1953, are soon headed to Cardiff, making it vital Wales do not trip up against the Pacific Islanders.

Howley, much criticised for his selection policy, responded by making eight changes to his starting XV, with Warburton's place going to Justin Tipuric.

The captaincy passes to former skipper Ryan Jones, who is set to lead his country for a record 29th time.

Howley has also brought in centre Ashley Beck, first-five Dan Biggar, halfback Mike Phillips, lock Bradley Davies, hooker Richard Hibbard and prop Paul James.

How they line up

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Ashley Beck, Jamie Roberts, George North, Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Toby Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Ryan Jones (c), Ian Evans, Bradley Davies Aaron Jarvis, Richard Hibbard, Paul James. Reserves: Ken Owens, Gethin Jenkins, Scott Andrews, Luke Charteris, Sam Warburton, Tavis Knoyle, Rhys Priestland, Scott Williams.

Samoa: Fa'atoina Autagavaia, Paul Perez, George Pisi, Paul Williams, David Lemi (c), Tusi Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i; Taiasina Tuifua, Maurie Fa'asavalu, Ofisa Treviranus, Filo Paulo, Daniel Leo, Census Johnston, Ole Avei, Sakaria Taulafo. Reserves: Ti'i Paulo, Viliamu Afatia, James Johnston, Tivaini Fomai, Jeremy Su'a, Jonny Leota, Robert Lilomaiava.

- NZ Herald

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