New Zealand Vs Samoa
The biggest game of Day two as former world champions New Zealand take on their ‘cousins’ Samoa.
The Kiwis have had problems with personnel for the tournament this time around, having to name five players without any caps plus seven with five or less.
They have retained important individuals such as Shaun Johnson, Thomas Leuluai, Jason Nightingale, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Simon Mannering and Captain Adam Blair.
But Samoa could easily match them in such departments and given their two previous meetings that turned out to be thrillers, this could very well end up the same!
The Samoans also have their experience in the pack; captained by Frank Pritchard, they have the likes of Junior Paulo, Leeson Ah Mau and Sam Lisone plus both Jazz Tevaga and Pita Godinet to interchange at hooker.
Both sides have options in attack in terms of sheer power as well as interchangeable players to keep both sides healthy and revitalised throughout so certainly a tasty area to watch out for.
As for the backs, Johnson going up against Castleford’s Ben Roberts will be exciting as both have superb kicking games plus can side-step any opponent as they wish.
There’s the three-quarter battle, namely Joseph Leilua and Gerard Beale battling one or another.
It looks relatively even but the Kiwis will remain slightly favoured and should get the job done.
All the expectation is one them and considering their players have had more experience on the big stage, they’ll power through, not really on quality but on maturity which, let’s face it are just as important as each other.
So yes, the Kiwis to win but don’t count out Samoa completely, you never what they are capable of!