Three local based players named in Manu Samoa squad for World Cup

First five Patrick Fa’apale wins place in the 2015 World Cup quad

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: WEDNESDAY 12 AUGUST 2015: Three local based players have successfully secured places in the Manu Samoa squad announced yesterday for the International Rugby Board (IRB) 2015 World Cup tournament next month.

In announcing the team, Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union who is also the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi acknowledged the perseverance and consistency of these 3 local based players in their campaign to wear the blue jersey.

The 3 selected local based players are Jake Grey, Vavaō Afemai and Patrick Fa’apale.

Tuilaepa congratulated the 3 local based players for their selection in the team. And the Manu Samoa coach Stephen Betham also acknowledged the selection of the 3 players to the team.

“I am particularly pleased for the locally based players as this selection rewards their hard work, determination and focus,” said Betham.

After assessing and analyzing the boys performance during the Pacific Nations Cup recently, the coach and SRU management finalized a team that will represent Samoa in the World Cup next month.

The selection was not easy, according to Tuilaepa as whilst the boys performed well, only the best of the best can be picked.

He also urged those who were not selected to continue on training as there is a possibility of them being recalled when players are injured.

The team also sees the return of veteran prop Logovi’i Mulipola and Ray Lee Lo who missed out on the All Blacks test and the PNC tournament.

“The PNC tournament had been invaluable from a rugby world cup preparation point of view,” Coach Stephen Betham.

Although the PNC result was not to their liking, “but the task to test our depth and to give players an opportunity to rise to the occasion is what we aimed for,” said Betham.

“Some obviously did and some were not quite strong enough to unseat established professional players in their positions,” said Betham.

The selection however for Betham was difficult as they had to leave behind some excellent players including those who performed well during the PNC tournament.

“We cannot take everyone and there is comfort in knowing that we have depth should we need to call on them,” said Betham.

“We know that the hopes and dreams of all our Samoan people are in 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,” Betham said.

The team will assemble Friday for their trip to Savaii for team building and for community engagement opportunities.

After Savaii, the team will travel to England early for 2 pre-World Cup fixtures against the Barbarians and Wasps before the main event in September.

“Every time we travel offshore, we are touched by the love and support this team attracts so I want to reassure everyone that our hopes and dreams are the same.”

Samoa is pooled with Japan, South Africa, Scotland and South America in their World Cup pool.

The Manu Samoa team for the World Cup tournament 2015:

PROPS: Viliamu Afatia, Jake Grey, Logovi’i Mulipola, Anthony Perenise, Sakaria Taulafo

HOOKERS: Wayne Ole Avei, Ma’atulimanu Leiataua,  Motu Matu’u.

LOCKS: Fa’atiga Lemalu, Teofilo Paulo, Kane Thompson, Iosefa Joe Tekori

LOOSE FORWARDS: Maurie Fa’asavalu, Alafoti Faosiliva, TJ Ioane, Jack Lam, Vavae Tuilagi, Ofisa Treviranus (Captain)

HALF BACKS: Vavaō Afemai, Kahn Fotuali’i

FIRST FIVE-EIGTHS: Patrick Fa’apale, Tusiata Pisi, Mike Stanley.

MIDFIELDERS: Ray Lee Lo, Johnny Leota, George Pisi, Paul Perez.

OUTSIDE BACKS: Fa’atoina Autagavaia, Ken Pisi, Tim Nanai-Williams, Alesana Tuilagi (Vice Captain)

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