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Samoan veteran speaks of rugby's 'beauty' as he prepares for World Cup debut in must-win Scotland match


A Samoan veteran is relishing his likely World Cup debut against Scotland tonight at the ripe old age of 31.

Wellington-born, Auckland-raised Piula Fa'asalele, who plays in France with Toulouse, missed the 2015 tournament with an injured knee.

His participation in Japan was also placed in doubt when he broke his arm in early August, but he overcame that blow to claim a spot on the bench for tonight's massive clash with Scotland in Kobe.

That's given him some vital perspective in the red-hot cauldron of a World Cup.

"One day on the beauty of the high, next day it can be taken away from you," he said.

"I know it’s a serious game, but I can tell you now come tomorrow I’ll enjoy it."

It's perspective the team needs, after losing both centre Rey Lee-Lo and hooker Motu Matu'u to suspension for three matches, while backrower Afaesetiti Amosa is out with a knee injury.

With Japan shaking up the group with their famous victory over Ireland, coach Steve Jackson said the players that were available were determined to register a first World Cup win over the Scots.

"It’s going to be a great battle, and as I said before there’s 23 highly motivated guys, they’re motivated to go out there and make the country proud."

For Scotland, Kiwi-born Blade Thomson was hoping to make his tournament debut at the back of the scrum, alongside late call-up Magnus Bradbury, who this time last week was still in Scotland.

"I am there to bring that physicality, the ball carrying, that ball carrying edge that they want me to do so hopefully combat the way the Samoans are playing," Bradbury, a replacement for Hamish Watson, said.