Vaeluaga Steve Jackson has emphasised the importance of consistency in team selection after confirming Chris Vui will captain Samoa in their Rugby World Cup clash with Russia.
Samoa are without captain Jack Lam, who is injured, for their opening Pool A encounter in Kumagaya City on Tuesday.
Jackson has kept faith with the majority of the side which started a 34-15 defeat to Australia in Samoa's final warm-up match, with Vui one of five changes.
"The players that have been selected deserve their selection, especially after the Australian game," Jackson said.
"Some players really put their hands up and that was what it was all about really. We want to keep consistency within the group and especially the starting fifteen.
"I think we've done that - barring a few in the front row who deserve their opportunity after the Australian test."
Russia were defeated 30-10 by hosts Japan in the World Cup's opening match, though Lyn Jones has made no changes
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Russia - Kirill Golosnitskiy
Centre Golosnitskiy will always have the memory of scoring the first try in the 2019 World Cup. The 25-year-old also completed 90 per cent of his tackles as Russia were forced to defend for long periods after making such a fast start against Japan.
Samoa - Tim Nanai-Williams
Nanai-Williams, the cousin of Sonny Bill Williams, is perhaps the most notable name in the Samoa squad, having switched international allegiance from New Zealand. In a contest that Samoa will expect to win, the 30-year-old has the potential to have a decisive say on proceedings.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Russia are still searching for a first Rugby World Cup victory, they lost all four of their games at the 2011 edition as well as the opening match of the 2019 tournament.
- Samoa have won only four of their last 18 Tests heading into the 2019 Rugby World Cup, losing each of their last three fixtures.
- Samoan duo Christopher Vui (13) and Kane Leaupepe (10) won more line-outs (including steals) than any other players during the 2019 Pacific Nations Cup.
- Kirill Golosnitskiy's fifth-minute try for Russia against Japan on Friday was the quickest try in the opening game at a World Cup, beating Israel Dagg's score in the 11th minute for New Zealand against Tonga in 2011.
- Ed Fidow of Samoa has scored eight tries in eight Tests since making his debut in June 2018 - Samoa enjoy a 60 per cent win rate when he has crossed (W3, L2).