Ieremia names Samoa side

Samoa coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia has announced his side for Friday's Test match against the All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland.

Eight of the 23-man squad will be donning the famous blue jersey for the first time on Friday – though former Crusaders centre Kieron Fonotia is the only one who will feature in the starting XV.

The Test will be the first of both Samoa and New Zealand's international rugby season – and it's also the only chance the All Blacks will get for a hit-out before the three-game series with the Lions.

Twenty-nine-year-old Fonotia will be making his debut alongside Stade Français prop Paul Alo Emile and Auckland scrum-half Auvasa Falealii, who are expected to be called on from the bench.

Joining the new boys is a swathe of established Test players who will balance out the arrival of the debutants with their experience, despite the absence of veterans David Lemi and midfielder Reynold Lee-Io due to injury.

Ieremia said not starting so many debutants came about as a response to the threat of experimenting against the All Blacks.

"We are wanting to put on a performance that will make our nation and most importantly ourselves proud," he said.

"Our performance will give us a 'rugby barometer' as to where are at – there is no better challenge and opportunity than playing the number one team in the world.

"This will give us an indication of where we are at because it is important to build momentum going into June-July internationals."

Eighteen of the players included, ply their trade in the UK and France, with just five members of the squad based in the Southern Hemisphere. Tim Nanai-Williams is the only one who plays Super Rugby.

Samoa: 15 Ah See Tuala (Northampton Saints), 14 Albert Nikoro (West Scarborough), 13 Kieron Fonotia (Ospreys), 12 Alapati Leiua (Wasps), 11 Tim Nanai Williams (Chiefs), 10 Tusiata Pisi (Bristol), 9 Kahn Fotualii (Bath), 8 Faifili Levave (Mitsubishi), 7 Jack Lam, (Bristol), 6 Piula Faasalele (Toulouse), 5 Faatiga Lemalu (Saracens), 4 Chris Vui (Worcester Warriors), 3 Census Johnston (Toulouse), 2 Maatulimanu Leiataua (Bayonne), 1 Viliamu Afatia (Racing 92)
Replacements: 16 Seilala Lam (Nevers), 17 Nephi Leatigaga, (Piacenza), 18 Paul Alo-Emile (Stade Français), 19 Taiasina Tuifua (Lyon), 20 Alafoti Faosiliva (Worcester Warriors), 21 Auvasa Falealii (Nevers), 22 D'Angelo Leuila (Papatoetoe), 23 Ken Pisi (Northampton Saints)

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