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Lee-Lo starts for Samoa as World Cup preparations heat up

International | 25th July 2019

Cardiff Blues' Rey Lee-Lo has been named in Samoa's starting line-up for Saturday's Pacific Nations Cup opener against Tonga at Apia Park.

The centre partners Bristol Bears' Alapati Leiua in midfield, with former Cardiff Blues lock, Filo Paulo, also named in the XV.

Saturday's encounter will be the first of three Pacific Nations Cup fixtures, with Steve Jackson's side also facing Blaine Scully's USA and Fiji in the tournament, as the preparations for the Rugby World Cup in Japan heat up.

Samoa will also take on a New Zealand Divisional XV and Wales' World Cup opponenets, Australia, before jetting off to Japan for the global spectacle.

They are drawn in Pool One for the World Cup, alongside Ireland, Scotland, Russia and hosts Japan. They will be open their account against Lyn Jones' Russia side in Kumagaya, and will no doubt be targeting a quarter final spot, where they could face defending champions, New Zealand, or South Africa.

Lee-Lo, who has 21 international caps to his name, will be looking to participate in his second World Cup campaign, having represented Manu Samoa in 2015, scoring a try in the narrow pool stage defeat to Scotland.

The midfielder was once again instrumental for Wales' Capital Region in 2018/19, and was shortlisted for both the Peter Thomas Player of the Season and Players' Player of the Season awards.

Samoa to face Tonga (Sat 27 July, Apia Park, 3.00am BST): Ah See Tuala; Johnny Vaili, Alapati Leiua, Reynold Lee-Lo, Belgium Tuatagaloa; Ulupano Seutini, Auvasa Falealii; Logovii Mulipola, Motu Matu'u (capt), Paul Alo-Emile, Teofilo Paulo, Kane Leaupepe, Chris Vui, TJ Ioane, Afaesetiti Amosa

Replacements: Ray Niuia, Jordan Lay, Alofaaga Sao, Vaito'asa Senio Toleafoa, Alamanda Motuga, Dwayne Polataivao, AJ Alatimu, JJ Taulagi