Samoa coach Alama Ieremia is confident that his team will save their best until last as the Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification process for Oceania reaches a climax at Apia Park on Saturday.

As the best-placed side over the 2016 and 2017 editions of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup, opponents Fiji have already booked their place in Pool D for RWC 2019 as Oceania 1, but a 30-26 loss to Tonga a fortnight ago means Samoa need at least a bonus point from the competition’s finale to progress to Japan as Oceania 2.

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Ieremia has made three changes to his forward pack for the decisive game, which will also decide the destiny of the PNC 2017 title.

"The entire squad have rallied together strongly to ensure we can put our best performance forward after our narrow loss against Tonga."

Samoa coach Alama Ieremia

An inexperienced front row will include a first start for prop Jordan Lay, whose brother James is on the bench, and World Rugby U20 Trophy 2016 winner Elia Elia at hooker.

Experienced flanker Jack Ram (pictured) returns from injury to the back-row in the only other change to the team that took on Tonga.

"We have selected a team we believe can counter a strong Fijian side that will be full of confidence," Ieremia said. "We have had a couple of disruptions with players in and out, but the team has continued seamlessly with its preparations this week.

"The entire squad have rallied together strongly to ensure we can put our best performance forward after our narrow loss against Tonga."

Defending Pacific Nations Cup champions Fiji have also made three changes to their starting XV as they look to build on recent home wins over Italy and Scotland and last weekend’s 14-10 victory over Tonga in Nuku’alofa.

Sunia Koto makes way for Tuapati Talemaitoga to start at hooker in the only change to the pack, while scrum-half Henry Seniloli and winger Vereniki Goneva return to the backline.

"With the PNC up for grabs and Samoa desperate to qualify for RWC in this series we expect a very tough challenge on Saturday. We are very determined to defend the PNC title which we have held since 2015,” said Fiji coach John McKee.

"The players must focus on getting small tasks right and executing our plays under pressure to win this match. We missed out on a couple of tries last week because we were not accurate in our finishing and the last pass let us down on occasions.”

The match will be live-streamed worldwide on www.worldrugby.org  (geo-blocked in Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Canada).