Two nations who weren't in action last weekend go head-to-head to kick off a mouth-watering triple header on Saturday.

Both squads feature plenty of names who were in action in the World Cup 9s – a weekend that will be more fondly remembered by semi-finalists Samoa than a Bati side that surprisingly lost every game to finish last in its pool.

Being a one-off Test, both teams are playing for pride in the jersey but of arguably more value to is simply the chance to get the groups together given how infrequently these chances come along in a packed schedule.

While there is a familiar core of players in both squads, there are also plenty of changes from the last time both nations gathered for a 13-a-side Test: Samoa's 24-6 defeat of Papua New Guinea and Fiji's 58-14 thumping of Lebanon, both in the mid-year Representative Round, both at Leichhardt Oval on June 22.

Match: Samoa v Fiji

Round 3 -

Full Time
Samoa

Home Team

Samoa

Scored 18 points
Fiji

Away Team

Fiji

Scored 44 points

Venue: Eden Park, Auckland

Match broadcasters:

  • Foxtel
  • KAYO
  • GEM

The Rundown

Key match-up

Suliasi Vunivalu v Brian To'o. To'o is a tackle-busting young wingers who has gone from virtual unknowns to virtual automatic test selection in half a season, while Vunivalu had a similarly rapid rise in 2016 going from unknown to one of the game's best finishers in a matter of weeks. With free-flowing footy likely to take precedence over structure, a high-quality winger to add value at both ends of the field will be a priceless commodity.

For Samoa to win

They need to carry forward their 9s momentum and play what's in front of them – especially free-wheeling playmakers Jarome Luai and Danny Levi, who have each shown in their young careers that they are not just talented but capable of channelling that ability without going over the top.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Samoa is number 1 Ronaldo Mulitalo
    Fullback for Fiji is number 1 Siti Moceidreke
  • Winger for Samoa is number 2 Jorge Taufua
    Winger for Fiji is number 2 Isaac Lumelume
  • Centre for Samoa is number 3 Timoteo Lafai
    Centre for Fiji is number 3 Taane Milne
  • Centre for Samoa is number 4 Joseph Leilua
    Centre for Fiji is number 4 Brayden Wiliame
  • Winger for Samoa is number 5 Brian To'o
    Winger for Fiji is number 5 Suliasi Vunivalu
  • Five-Eighth for Samoa is number 6 Marion Seve
    Five-Eighth for Fiji is number 6 Kevin Naiqama
  • Halfback for Samoa is number 7 Jarome Luai
    Halfback for Fiji is number 7 Brandon Wakeham

Forwards

  • Prop for Samoa is number 8 Junior Paulo
    Prop for Fiji is number 8 Kane Evans
  • Hooker for Samoa is number 9 Danny Levi
    Hooker for Fiji is number 9 Joe Lovodua
  • Prop for Samoa is number 10 Martin Taupau
    Prop for Fiji is number 10 Tui Kamikamica
  • 2nd Row for Samoa is number 11 Tino Faasuamaleaui
    2nd Row for Fiji is number 11 Viliame Kikau
  • 2nd Row for Samoa is number 12 Michael Chee-Kam
    2nd Row for Fiji is number 12 Ben Nakubuwai
  • Lock for Samoa is number 14 Dunamis Lui
    Lock for Fiji is number 13 D'Rhys Miller

Interchange

  • Interchange for Samoa is number 13 Bunty Afoa
    Interchange for Fiji is number 14 Lamar Liolevave
  • Interchange for Samoa is number 15 Moses Leota
    Interchange for Fiji is number 15 Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu
  • Interchange for Samoa is number 16 Luciano Leilua
    Interchange for Fiji is number 18 King Vuniyayawa
  • Interchange for Samoa is number 17 James Gavet
    Interchange for Fiji is number 19 Penioni Tagituimua

For Fiji to win

Wind up and come off the back fence. If Fiji are to prevail they need powerful runners like Viliame Kikau, Tui Kamikamica and Taane Milne hitting the Samoan defensive line at full pace with Kikau's offloading a key threat on the left edge. Spread it wide early and let the backs do plenty of work with a few seasoned heads like Kevin Naiqama hopefully able to apply some polish in the attacking 20.

Stat Attack

Samoa's last-up win over PNG was their first Test win since 2016, with six losses and a draw since. Fiji have won eight of their past 12 tests.

And another thing…

Samoa forward Tino Faasuamaleaui's busy post-season has seen him switch colours for a fourth time, going from a Storm finals series to Australia PM's XIII duties to Samoa's 9s campaign to Australian Junior Kangaroos representation and now into his first official Test match with Toa Samoa.