Preparations are in full swing for the Manu Samoa 15s Northern Hemisphere Tour.
Head Coach Vaovasaomanaia Seilala Mapusua has strong support through his management. He is assisted by former All Black and Wellington Hurricane, Tana Umaga as well as former Captain of Manu Samoa and Waikato Chiefs front rower, Mase Mahonri Schwalger.
The team’s preparations got off to a good start with the squad coming together for a 3-day camp in London.
“We welcome back some of our experienced lads all mixed in with some exciting new faces as we prepare to take on Italy, Georgia and Romania.”
The Northern Hemisphere Tour is the first northern tour for the Samoan outfit since 2019. It is also the first tour in the UK and Europe since Vaovasamanaia took over as head coach.
The three Test matches include Italy on 5 November in Padua, Georgia on 12 November in Tbilisi, and Romania on the 19th of November in Bucharest.
Vaovasamanaia is looking forward to using the tour as part of the build-up to the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France on the back of winning the 2022 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup in Fiji this past July.
“The Northern Hemisphere tour will provide plenty of challenges with three very tough test matches against quality opponents..
“We will look to build on the success of the Pacific Nations Cup win and keep developing how we want to play, whilst also having a good look at our talent pool for our RWC2023 team selection.”
“We do not have many test matches to prepare for rugby’s pinnacle event so we are maximising on every opportunity that presents itself.”
There is a balanced mix of young and experienced players with two local players rewarded for their strong performances in local competitions.
The majority of the team are northern based, and includes eight uncapped players making their debut for Samoa including those eligible from the recent change in World Rugby eligibility rules.
Vaovasamanaia has said this has been the most difficult team to select with the quality of players available.
“We are building some quality depth and I look forward to working with this group”
“I am thrilled for the opportunity for our Manu Samoa to end what has been a good yet tough year on a high..
“And as always, we appreciate all the support and encouragement from our people and supporters both here in Samoa and around world.”