Manuma Samoa and the South China Tigers are evenly poised to draw first blood in their Global Rapid Rugby opener with the match being played at a neutral venue in Perth.

With fixtures being rearranged in recent weeks to accommodate health and travel advice as a result of Covid-19, the match has been moved to the WA capital as part of an exciting double-header that also includes the Western Force versus the Malaysia Valke.

Manuma Samoa and the Tigers have both had a previous taste of the Rapid Rugby concept, with Samoa having been part of World Series Rugby in 2018 and the Pacific Showcase in 2019, and the Tigers taking part in last year’s Asia Showcase series.

Manuma Samoa will most likely bring a typically physical edge to their game whilst the more nimble Tigers have been preparing for a faster-paced encounter.

The Samoans will be looking to bounce back from a 14-42 loss to the China Lions in a warm-up match last week. Coach Muliagatele Brian Lima says his team is excited about getting their campaign underway and were ready after months of preparations.

“I think the boys have prepared mentally and physically for this game. This competition is a good initiative especially for players in the Asia and Pacific regions to play at this level,” Lima said.

Tigers coach Craig Hammond said his team was excited about the first game after working hard over the past three to prepare for the high demands of Rapid Rugby.

“We know we’re in for a physical battle on Saturday. Our boys will need to make sure they put in a top performance to get the result we want. We don’t know a lot about Manuma Samoa so we have to make sure we focus on our game and sort our detail out first.”

Tigers co-captain Josh Dowsing added: “We are expecting a big physical challenge from this new look Samoan team and are excited to see how both teams adapt to the law variations. We are keen to rip in and make our mark on the competition”.

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