Samoa counting on flyhalf Pisi being fit for Wales

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Samoa's Alesana Tuilagi crashes into Namibia's Danie van Wyk during their Rugby World Cup match against Namibia in Rotorua, New Zealand, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/SNPA,John Cowpland ) NEW ZEALAND OUT

ROTORUA, New Zealand (AP) — Samoa is hoping goalkicking flyhalf Tusi Pisi will be fit by kickoff against Wales in the highly-anticipated World Cup Pool D match on Sunday.

Pisi hurt his left hamstring in the 49-12 win over Namibia on Wednesday, but the renowned healing powers of Rotorua's mud baths have helped him to keep his place in the lineup named on Friday.

"He's 80 percent fit according to our medical team, and they say he'll be 99 percent tomorrow, so then we still have one more day for him to be fully fit," coach Titimaea Tafua said.

Flanker Taiasina Tuifu'a also came off early against Namibia with rib damage and was put in the reserves, swapping with Ofisa Treviranus in the only change to Samoa's starting 15.

Captain Mahonri Schwalger said the four-day gap in matches was harsh, but didn't think it would be a problem for Samoa.

"That's the nature of the tournament," Schwalger said. "This is a team that can recover quick and fire up.

"We've got a pretty good squad, and you've got to be smart how you use your squad."

He said it was an advantage to Wales to have had three extra days' rest, but he wasn't too concerned.

As for trying to beat Wales for a third successive time in the World Cup, after famous victories in 1991 and '99, Schwalger smiled.

"We're keeping our cards close to our chest," he said.


Samoa: Paul Williams, Sailosi Tagicakibau, George Pisi, Seilala Mapusua, Alesana Tuilagi, Tusi Pisi, Kahn Fotuali'i; George Stowers, Maurie Fa'asavalu, Ofisa Treviranus, Daniel Leo, Kane Thompson, Anthony Perenise, Mahonri Schwalger (captain), Sakaria Taulafo. Reserves: Ti'i Paulo, Census Johnston, Joe Tekori, Taiasina Tuifu'a, Junior Poluleuligaga, Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu, Tasesa Lavea.