7 Nov 2020, Auckland New Zealand. The legendary veteran of both rugby codes for Samoa, Masuisui “Sui” Pauaraisa will lead the Fetu Samoa Invitational squad onto the field this afternoon in a test match to mark the Kiwi Ferns 25th Anniversary at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
In the lead up to today’s match, Pauaraisa says although they’ve camped for only two days, playing for Samoa is about bringing passion and heart to make up for the limited resourced environment.
“Two days camp and two team runs before a test match is pretty crazy but when you’re a Samoan, everything comes down to heart!”
“We have a great mixture of players.. and we always say, when it comes to Samoa, “e fai ma le faku le kaaloga!”.
A Samoan born from the village of Satuiatua in the Palauli district of Savaii, Pauaraisa has represented and captained Samoa’s women teams for both Union and League.
Sui debuted for the Kiwis in 2018 after an awesome season with the Warriors in the first women’s NRL competition that year.
But in 2019, she closed the door to that dream when Samoa National Rugby League relaunched the Fetu Samoa with a 2019 Test Match against the Kiwis.
Sui shares with Samoa Global News, “In 2019 they announced a test match between Fetu Samoa and Kiwi Ferns! It wasn’t an easy decision, but I knew my heart was always with my Samoa… so I made a decision to pave the way for our next generation coming through.”
For this afternoons test match, the captain quotes Joshua 1:9 and says they’re letting God lead today, and are grateful for the line-up of players.
We’re pretty stoked with the players we have despite the short time given to assemble our team..”
“We have Kiwi Ferns Aieshaleigh Smalley as our Vice Captain, Onjeulina Leiataua and Va’anessa Molia-Fraser… we also have a mixture of girls who participated in the FPC, Nina Foaese from Wellington Pride and Shannon Leota from Auckland Storms.. we also have players who play in our Manusina team! So a good mixture of union and league players”.
The Fetu Samoa captain plays for the Linwood Rugby League club in Chirstchuch and this year, played for Canterbury Rugby League women’s team leading up to this match.
Head Coach Ross Uele comes to Samoa off the back of a successful season; taking the Akarana Women’s League team to the national finals.
In the announcement of his squad the head coach noted the considerable number of uncapped players in his 20 strong tem.
“The new players to the test arena currently play at provincial level in the NZRL competition with eight of the named squad involved in the women’s NZRL grand final over the weekend..”
“The other six players have just completed their duties in Farah Palmer Cup in Rugby union and a few key candidates come off injuries to be fully cleared to play..”
“We are excited at the combinations assembled for this Fetu Samoa Invitational
squad of 2020,” said Uele.
The head coach says travel restrictions has meant many from Australia and one from Samoa will miss out this time.
“As always there are players who will be really disappointed at missing out, unfortunately due to Covid-19 restrictions and the international travel band”. Last year many of the Fetu Samoa girls were based out of Australia and we also have a player in Samoa that could have been selected for this squad too.”
The game kicks off at 4pm in New Zealand – 5pm in Samoa.
So if you’re in or around the Auckland area, go down and support the Fetu Samoa today!
Fetu Samoa Squad 2020:
Masuisui ‘Sui’ Pauaraisa – C
Aieshaleigh Smalley – VC
Shannon Laamauga Leota