Samoa has changed nearly half of its team to face Germany in an historic rugby world cup qualifier in Apia from the one that lost to Tonga in its last test.
Coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua has made seven changes to his starting side as they prepare to host the German team for the first time.
Logovii Mulipola, Motu Matu’u and Paul Alo-Emile form a completely new front row from the one that lost to Tonga 28-18 in the Pacific Nations Cup.
Lock Josh Tyrell has also been brought in to partner captain Chris Vui in the locking positions.
Ofisa Treviranus will be the third different player to wear the number eight jersey in successive tests with Jack Lam shifting to the openside.
There are two changes in the backline with Otago-based Melani Matavao coming in at halfback and former sevens star Ed Fidow slotting into the right wing position, pushing vice-captain Paul Perez into the midfield.
Saturday’s match is the first leg of the home and away playoff with Samoa set to travel to Germany in two weeks.
The two sides only previous encounter was in 1989 which was won by Samoa in Bonn, Germany, 54-9.
Meanwhile the Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union and Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, was in a better mood when he welcomed the German side to Apia.
At an official reception Tuilaepa spoke about the shared history between Samoa and Germany, highlighting the strong economic and trade links as well as the close diplomatic ties the countries had.
The prime minister said Samoa was relishing the opportunity to host Germany.
“On Saturday, we are all looking forward to an exciting match between our two teams,” said Tuilaepa.
“Don’t read what comes out in the paper, it’s the way we joke.
“We like to say a lot of jokes and humour to keep the spirit of our people high,” he said.
“Incidentally, we learned all these jokes from your forefathers when they were here in Samoa, so enjoy your time here in Samoa amongst your brothers.”
Earlier Tuilaepa had told local media the team had “no guts”, following defeats to Fiji and Tonga.
Samoa has now lost nine tests in a row.
“If you don’t win this game then you all have to resign from the team,” Tuilaepa said.
Samoa team to play Germany:
Logovii Mulipola, Motu Matu’u, Paul Alo-Emile, Josh Tyrell, Chris Vui (C), Piula Fa’aselele, Jack Lam, Ofisa Treviranus, Melani Matavao, Tusi Pisi, Sinoti Sinoti, Alapati Leiua, Paul Perez, Ed Fidow, Ah See Tuala.
Reserves: Seilala Lam, Jordan Lay, Viliamu Afatia, Joe Tekori, TJ Ioane, Dwayne Polataivao, Patrick Fa’apale, Alofa Alofa.
Julius Nostadt (C), Michail Tyumenev, Samy Fuchsel, Timo Vollenkemper, Eric Marks, Marcel Henn, Jaco Otto, Sebastian Ferreira, Sean Armstrong, Christopher, Hilsenbeck, Nikolai Klewinghaus, Raynor Parkinson, Steffen Liebig, Marcel Coetzee, Maxime Oltmann.
Reserves: Maxime Oltmann, Mark Fairhurst, Jarrid Els, Jorn Schroder, Antony Dickinson, Falk Duwe, Tim Menzel, Pierre Mathurin, Pascal Fischer.