2 days ago
Irish coach Andy Kelly has given a World Cup debut to prop Wayne Kerr who will take his place on the bench in place of Mick Cassidy. After giving Tonga a real run for their money in their first match, the other Irish changes are purely positional - Dewsbury's Liam Finn takes the starting halfback role from Karl Fitzpatrick, while Harlequins' prop Gareth Haggerty comes into the starting front row while Ryan Tandy will play from the bench.
Samoan coach John Ackland has made two changes to the team that defeated Tonga last week. Bartercard Cup prop Wade McDade comes into the starting side for the suspended Kylie Leuluai, while Cronulla winger Misi Taulapapa comes onto the bench in place of utility Albert Talipeau. Ireland needs to beat Samoa by 6 points at Parramatta Stadium to dispalce their opponents at the top of their pool.
In the night's second game, Scotland coach Steve McCormack has announced a raft of changes to his side ahead of their match against the much fancied Fijians in Gosford. In the backline Queensland Cup player Wade Liddell comes onto the wing in place of Dean Colton, and centre Mick Nanyn comes off the bench to start in Gavin Cowan's place.
In the forwards Ian Henderson shifts to lock in place of Lee Patterson, allowing Hull KR's Ben Fisher to move from the bench to the starting hooker role. Wakefield's Oliver Wilkes will partner Scott Logan as a starting prop, leaving Huddersfield's Paul Jackson to move back to the bench. Chris Armit comes into the second row at the expense of Duncan McGillivray. National League utilities Gareth Morton and Dave McConnell are the new faces on Scotland's five man bench.
Fiji coach Joe Dakuitoga may spring some late changes too, having named an eight man bench ahead of this game. Jone Wesele, Jonje Macilai, Josateki Ravueta, and Kaliova Nauqe are the Australian-based Fijian players who will be hoping for their World Cup call-up after having been added to the side that dominated France. Scotland needs to beat Fiji by 28 points to displace the Bati from the top of their pool.
Two vital World Cup games that will decide the winners of Pools 2 and 3 - and hence the two teams that will do battle in Monday's Qualifying Final to decide the fourth semi-finalist who will most likely earn a match against Australia...
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Ireland: 1. Michael Platt (Bradford Bulls) 2. Damien Blanch (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 3. Sean Gleeson (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 4. Stuart Littler (Salford City Reds) 5. Pat Richards (Wigan Warriors) 6. Scott Grix (c) (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 7. Liam Finn (Dewsbury Rams) 8. Eamon O