Keywords: Fatausi Samoa
Description: The Manu Samoa Rugby Team squad for the upcoming World Cup next month in England has been announced, according to a statement issued by Samoa’s Rugby Union, obtained by Samoa News. Head Coach
The Manu Samoa Rugby Team squad for the upcoming World Cup next month in England has been announced, according to a statement issued by Samoa’s Rugby Union, obtained by Samoa News. Head Coach Stephen Betham and his management team finalized the last of their 31-strong squad after assessing performances at the recent World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup tournament in North America.
According to the SRU, the squad features the return of veteran prop Logovii Mulipola, and Hurricanes midfielder Rey Lee Lo who were not part of the All Blacks or Pacific Nations Cup squads. Other features include the selection of locally based players Jake Grey, Vavao Afemai and Patrick Faapale who pushed through stiff competition from professional players to secure their positions in the squad. Head Coach, Jason Betham said that tournament had been invaluable from a Rugby World Cup preparation point of view.
“Of course we are disappointed we didn’t get the result we wanted, but if we consider the bigger picture, we know the task was to test our depth and to give players an opportunity to rise to the occasion. Some obviously did, and some weren’t quite strong enough to unseat established professional players in their positions. We have had some late challenges with injuries ruling out valuable players such as James Johnston (leg), Pele Cowley (shoulder) and David Lemi (back).”
He went on to say that it has been an incredibly difficult selection process as they have had to leave behind some excellent players, including those who performed well at PNC. “But we cannot take everyone, and there is comfort in knowing that we have depth should we need to call on it. I am particularly pleased for the locally based players as this selection rewards their hard work, determination and focus.”
He stated, congratulations to all players who have been selected – I know they will represent our country with much pride and dignity.”
Team manager Namulauulu Sami Leota welcomed the announcement as the official start of Samoa’s campaign and pointed out that they are very excited to unveil the squad. “From here we now prepare to take our squad to England early for two pre-World Cup fixtures against the Barbarians and Wasps.”
“We know that the hopes and dreams of all our Samoan people are on this team, and that is a heavy burden – but one made so much easier to bear knowing that the people of Samoa – and Samoans all around the world – are firmly behind this team. Every time we travel offshore, we are touched at the love and support this team attracts, so I want to reassure everyone that our hopes and dreams are the same.
The squad was named by Samoa’s Prime Minister and Chairman of the Rugby Union, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
PROPS; Viliamu Afatia, Agen (Vaiala, Saoluafata); Jake Grey, Samoa A (Vailoa, Faleata, Foailalo, Salega); Logovii Mulipola, Leicester Tigers (Manono, Apolima); Anthony Perenise, Bristol (Solosolo, Fasito'o-Tai); Sakaria Taulafo, Stade Français (Asau, Malie).
HOOKERS: Wayne Ole Avei, Borderaux (Saleimoa, Leauva'a, Samata); Ma’atulimanu Leiataua, Aurillac (Vailoa Palauli, Safune, Manono, Apolima, Sa’anapu) Motu Matu’u, Hurricanes (Fasitoo-uta, Falelatai, Manono).
LOCKS: Faatiga Lemalu, Sannix Blues (Lefaga, Faleasiu); Teofilo Paulo, Cardiff Blues (Solosolo, Faleapuna, Safune, Matatufu, Saleaumua); Kane Thompson, Newcastle Falcons (Apia); Iosefa (Joe) Tekori, Toulouse (Vailele, Asau, Luatuanu’u)
LOOSE FORWARDS: Maurie Faasavalu, Oyonnax, France (Falelatai, Safotu); Alafoti Faosiliva, Bath (Afega, Malie); TJ Ioane, Sale Sharks (Vaie'e, Saleimoa); Jack Lam, Bristol (Gataivai, Malie); Vavae Tuilagi, Carcassonne (Fatausi, Fogapoa); Ofisa Treviranus (captain), London Irish (Malie, Patamea)
HALFBACKS: Vavao Afemai, Samoa A (Vaiala, Lauli’i); Kahn Fotualii, Northampton Saints (Faleapuna)
FIRST FIVE-EIGHTHS: Patrick Fa’apale, Samoa A (Vaipuna, Vaiala, Fagaloa); Tusiata Pisi, Suntory (Toamua, Lefaga, Safata); Mike Stanley, Ulster (Vaigaga)
MIDFIELDERS: Rey Lee Lo, Hurricanes (Vailima; Johnny Leota, Sale Sharks (Avao); George Pisi, Northampton Saints (Toamua, Lefaga, Safata); Paul Perez, Natal Sharks (Vaigaga)
OUTSIDE BACKS: Fa’atoina Autagavaia, Nevers (Vailoa, Palauli); Ken Pisi, Northampton Saints (Toamua, Lefaga, Safata); Tim Nanai-Williams, Chiefs (Falelatai); Alesana Tuilagi (vice captain), Newcastle Falcons (Fatausi, Fogapoa)
In the meantime, Manu Samoa 7s new Head Coach is Damian McGrath, who has had a successful coaching career. He was selected among the three high profile applicants for the Manu Samoa Sevens coaching role that was vacant following the move by SRU in June not to renew contracts for Fuimaono Dickie Tafua and Galumalemana Rudolf Moors. The Union started advertising for the Head Coach and Assistant Coach positions in June.
SRU’s Chief Executive Officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i said, “obviously we were disappointed with the team’s inability to qualify for the Olympic Games during the 2014-2015 World Rugby Sevens Series.”
The other three finalists who applied were English Sevens rugby great, Ben Gollings, Fijian legend, Waisale Serevi and World Rugby hall of famer, Muliagatele Brian Lima.
Other applicants included former coach, Tausa Fa’amaoni Lalomilo and Fepulea’i Selefuti Patu.
McGrath is from England, and has played professional Rugby league at Batley before embarking on a successful coaching career, which has encompassed both codes of rugby at club and international level.
Over a period of five years the England 7’s team won four Hong Kong titles, appeared at the 2002 Common Wealth games in Manchester and the 2005, 7’s World Cup. McGrath has lectured extensively in England and abroad on skill development and coach education. He is the author of three books on rugby skills coaching.
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