Samoa given the size of their players, always play with verve and hard tackling but also with the speed & ability to break away and surprise. In Pool D alongside England, Japan, Argentina & Chile. The pool draw means that if they play on form, they could easily be through to the next round.  

The National Team known as Manu Samoa, is names after a famous warrior. Like many of the Pacific Islander teams, they throw down a challenge at the start of each match – their war dance is called siva tau. Rugby started in Samoa in 1924, with their first match against Fiji, which brilliantly was played at 7am so the Samoans could get to work after the match – and the pitch had a large tree planted on the halfway line! Things have moved on somewhat – including the heady days of the 1990’s with great Samoan players such as Brian Lima. RWC 2023 will be their ninth consecutive appearance in the tournament. 

The arrival of head coach, Seilala Mapusua, who has played in previous RWC’s has given a renewed determination to the team. Looks like a good year for Samoan rugby.

Captain: Michael Alaalatoa

Player to Watch: Ben Lam (nephew of Pat Lam, who is head coach at Bristol)

For more information about Samoa Rugby:

For full details follow:

What to Eat & Drink whilst watching the Ikale Tahi

Food: In Samoa, it’s all about the plentiful amount of great fresh ingredients. Obviously, lots of fish (snapper, tuna, and octopus) from the beautiful South Pacific waters – but also lots of coconuts and bananas. For easy match day food try cooking banana cake (which would pair well with a malty beer) or the popular coconut bread, Pani Popo.

 Paifala, a sweet pastry sweet stuffed with fruit & custard is possible not the best match for match day beers – but try looking out of a recipe for Kale – a Samoan curry (from lamb , chicken or other meat). Not as spicy as other curries, it would be a good easy going on the palate option to pair with a beer or an aromatic white wine such as Viognier!

Celebrity Chef Monica Galetti draws on her Samoan heritage for a few of the recipes in her book At Home such as Masi Samoa. 

Beer: The main beer of Samoa is Vailima and seems to be present at every rugby match going in Samoa. Sadly, not as easy to find in the UK – but do also look out for another beer called Taula – try some of the online independent beer specialists.

Wine: Right, this is where things become a little tenuous! As Samoa, nor Fiji or Tonga are suitable for wine making (well from local proper vines anyway!), this section proves a bit of a challenge.  So I have taken the letters of each country to find a wine somewhere in the world that spells out their name and at the same time, hope you discover some more unusual wines.

S is for Syrah, and given the close links between NZ and Samoa, it had to be this gorgeous Syrah from New Zealand Oldest winery – Te Mata Estate Syrah. Bursting with flavour, hints of white pepper, deep dark fruits, and overlaying chocolate. Available from and great value for this class of wine at just £15.99 on their six-mix deal. 

A is for Alsatian wines – a beautiful region of France with Germanic names, whose wines are still sadly too often misunderstood and wrongly dismissed as sweet, when often they are not but instead can be fabulously aromatic.  Try a Gewürztraminer from leading producer Hugel for glorious rose petal & lychees nose.  This delightful world class wine will convert you – especially if you enjoy with some blue cheese!

M is for a little known Greek grape variety – Mavroudi. This mono varietal example from the Vourvoukeli estate in Thrace is brilliant – masses going on in the glass, with lots of black fruit (the variety name comes from black), good acidity saves it going over the top and a wine that delights. Woth seeking out from

O is for Orvieto, a white wine from Italy’s region of Umbria. Fresh notes of lemon with touches of hazelnuts, there are many easy drinking versions, under a tenner, such as the Orvieto Classico from the

A is for Assyrtiko – an enticing white variety. This time grown by brilliant producers Lyrarakis on the island of Crete. Appealing nose of honeysuckle and broom, with crisp minerality. Bargain at £10.99 from /