BY Alan Ah Mu
APIA: FRIDAY 11 OCTOBER 2013: A 30-man squad was named last night for the Manu Samoa northern hemisphere tour in November when they play Ireland and Georgia. And back is captain David Lemi.
Naming the side live on state radio 2AP, Samoa Rugby Union chairman Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi paused at the halfbacks and said, “Thankfully Kahn Fotuali’i is available.”
A surprise is the inclusion of Patrick Fa’apale, who is with the Manu Samoa 7’s side now at the Gold Coast, Australia, for the first leg of the World Series this season.
Not considered for 7’s was Fa’atoina Autagavaia, but today he was named at fullback for the 15s for the northern hemisphere tour.
Most of the side plays in Europe.
Five are Super 15 players in New Zealand Faifili Levave, Alapati Leiua, Jack Lam and Tusi Pisi, all of Wellington Hurricanes.
“Right now we will work with only those who are committed to us and they will be the same players that we will consider for the RWC 2015 selection,” Head Coach Stephen Betham said.
The squad sees the return of senior players Maurie Fa’asavalu, Fotuali’i, Joe Tekori, George Pisi and Captain David Lemi who were unavailable for the Four Nations campaign in South Africa in June.
Manu Samoa play Ireland 9 November in Dublin, French Barbarians in Clermont, France 16th and Gerogia 23 November in Tiblisi.
Betham said there will be no easy games on the tour with Ireland a tier one nation. Losing to Ireland will affect Manu Samoas current 7th IRB standing.
“They have had a lot of games together this year and we have to prepare well and fast for this test, knowing that we will have one week to put the team together before our first kick off,” he said.
Georgia are Eastern Europe champions and are renowned for their hard forwards and good scrummaging.
Betham expects the French Barbarians to be France’s shadow test team.
Manu Samoa Management meet up with the New Zealand contingent before departure for a three-day camp in London with the rest of the team.
The Manu Samoa squad:
Hookers: Ole Avei, Ti’i Paulo.
Props: Census Johnston, Sakaria Taulafo, Logovi’i Mulipola, James Johnston, Viliamu Afatia.
Locks: Teofilo Paulo, Daniel Leo, Piula Fa’asalele, Joe Tekori, Fa’atiga Lemalu.
Loose forwards: Maurie Fa’asavalu, Ofisa Treviranus, Jack Lam, Taiasina Tuifua, Fa’afili Levave.
Halfbacks: Kahn Fotuali’i, Jeremy Su’a.
First fives: Tusi Pisi, Patrick Fa’apale.
Midfields: George Pisi, Johnny Leota, Paul Williams, Isaia Tuifua.
Wings: David Lemi, Alapati Leiua, Sinoti Sinoti.
Fullbacks: Brando Va’aulu, Fa’atoina Autagavaia.
Management – Coach: Stephen Betham; Manager: Namulauulu Sami Leota.
The full management list will be announced at a later date.