29 Aug 2015

Sport: Baabaas game a welcome test for Manu Samoa

10:16 am on 29 August 2015
Manu Samoa perform Siva Tau

Manu Samoa perform Siva Tau Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Manu Samoa coach Stephen Betham says tomorrow's historic match against the Barbarians is a chance for players to get some much-needed game-time ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Six of the starting fifteen, including captain Ofisa Treviranus, first five Tusi Pisi and fullback Tim Nanai-Williams didn't feature in the Pacific Nations Cup, while Rey Lee Lo's last test was at the end of last year.

Stephen Betham says some players haven't played a game of rugby for almost two months and need to get some minutes under their belts.

"It's about giving individuals game-time. Not only that, we're looking at trying to get our combinations sorted out before the World Cup. I think the major thing we're looking at is those who last played the All Blacks [in Apia at the start of July] and haven't had game-time after that - hence most of the are starting this game - and hopefully we get some match-time and game-time into them before heading into the World Cup".

The Barbarians team includes four World Cup winners and 545 international caps, including 18 from ex Samoa fullback Paul Williams.

Stephen Betham has selected the strongest team possible for tomorrow's game and is expecting a stern test across the park.

"I think it's a very experienced side and you've got players in there who could easily be in the Wallabies or the All Blacks. It's a good chance for us to test where we are before heading in [to the World Cup] and, not only that, those players who haven't make their national teams for the World Cup I'm sure they're out to prove a point and I'm pretty sure they will come out and give it 110 percent".

The match is part of the Barbarians 125th anniversary celebrations and is also the first rugby game to be played at London's Olympic Stadium.

Samoa open their World Cup campaign in three weeks against the United States.