Eight days after the tournament kicked off, the perennially popular Samoa make their Rugby World Cup 2023 bow against new crowd favourites Chile at Stade de Bordeaux.
Chile’s brilliant fans ramped up the atmosphere when the South Americans made their first-ever appearance on rugby’s biggest stage against Japan in Toulouse last week. Expect more of the same in Bordeaux.
FIXTURE: Samoa v Chile
GROUND: Stade de Bordeaux (42,060)
KICK-OFF: 15:00 local time (GMT+2)
Chile and Samoa have never previously met in international rugby.
Matches don’t come more memorable than the first one. Chile became the first team to debut at a Rugby World Cup in 12 years when they took to the pitch in Toulouse against Japan last week. Despite losing, it’s a match Pablo Lemoine’s side will remember for a long, long time.
In 1991, Samoa, then known as Western Samoa, made their first Rugby World Cup appearance - and set rugby tongues wagging when they beat Wales 16-13 in Cardiff, as they charged to the knockout phase at the first time of asking.
KEY TALKING POINT
Players who have not been involved in international rugby for 36 months can now play for a nation to which they have close family ties - so former All Blacks Lima Sopoaga, Steven Luatua and Charlie Faumuina, and ex-Wallaby Christian Leali’ifano are now eligible to play for the land of their forefathers.
Christian Leali’ifano v Rodrigo Fernandez. One of Chile’s heroes of Toulouse, hooker Diego Escobar, is on the bench, but another - try-scoring fly-half Fernandez starts. He’s up against the remarkable Leali’ifano in the half-back contest for tactical supremacy in Bordeaux. Leali’ifano, who made his Samoa debut against Japan this year, turns 36 on 22 September.
Before Nicolas Garafulic was forced to withdraw because of injury, Chile had four sets of brothers in their 33-player squad.
Paul Williams (New Zealand). Due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time, in October 2020 Williams became the first New Zealand-born referee in 40 years to take charge of a Bledisloe Cup game.
SAMOA Duncan Paia'aua; Danny Toala, Ulupano Junior Seuteni, Tumua Manu, Nigel Ah-Wong; Christian Leali’ifano, Jonathan Taumateine; James Lay, Seilala Lam, Michael Alaalatoa (captain), Chris Vui, Theo McFarland, Taleni Junior Agaese Seu, Fritz Lee, Steven Luatua
Replacements: Sama Malolo, Jordan Lay, Paul Alo-Emile, Sam Slade, Sa Jordan Taufua, Ereatara Enari, Lima Sopoaga, Ed Fidow
CHILE Inaki Ayarza; Santiago Videla, Domingo Saavedra, Matias Garafulic, José Ignacio Larenas; Rodrigo Fernandez, Marcelo Torrealba; Javier Carrasco, Tomas Dussaillant, Matias Dittus, Pablo Huete, Santiago Pedrero, Martín Sigren (captain), Clemente Saavedra, Raimundo Martínez
Replacements: Diego Escobar, Salvador Lues, Esteban Inostroza, Javier Eissmann, Alfonso Escobar, Ignacio Silva, Benjamin Videla, Pablo Casas