Manu Samoa stock of locks gutted, three lost

Iosefa Tekori, one of three locks now unavailable for Manu Samoa.

Iosefa Tekori, one of three locks now unavailable for Manu Samoa.

by Alan Ah Mu

APIA: TUESDAY 28 MAY 2013: Three of the four Manu Samoa locks picked for the quadrangular tournament in South Africa next month have dropped from the team.

Commitment to Castres Olympique has claimed Iosefa Tekori as his French club seeks glory in the Top 14 competition there.

Another veteran lock Kane Thompson has fallen injured while Dan Leo is under suspension.

Not named in the original squad but later called in was Piula Fa’asalele who also became unavailable because of club commitments.

Fa’asalele is Tekori’s team mate at Castres Olympique, and though uncapped and a loose forward can cover lock.

A search to locate replacements for the gutted stock of locks continues.

The situation is “fluid,” chief executive officer of Samoa Rugby Union, Fred Amoa, said.

The exit of Tekori, Thompson and Leo represents a massive loss of experience in a tournament against Tier 1 opponents Italy and Scotland – and possibly South Africa if the Manu performs well.

Tekori has 20 caps to his name with Thompson 22 and Leo 30.

And Samoa has always struggled to compete in the tight five against top sides.

A warm up game against the Lions at Ellis Park on 1 June, is much needed for a side with players called in from Australia, Japan, France, New Zealand, Samoa, Spain and the UK.

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