01 September 2019 Auckland NZ. Head Coach Vaeluagaomatagi Steve Jackson has selected a 31 man squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan.
There are only 8 players with previous RWC experience and 2 players who played their first ever matches for Samoa yesterday against NZ Heartland.
Steve Jackson is confident about his selection and says of the forward pack:
“We’ve got a big pack and in the World Cup you’re going to need a big pack. It’s an old game. You’ve still got to win the set pieces. It’s all about delivering front foot ball.”
Jackson says the selection of flyhalf Tusi Pisi for his 3rd World Cup will bring experience and good decision making to the team.
“We want to be able to play the game fast. And we now have the conditioning to do that. But the important thing for us is that we have some really good decision makers. Players who are willing to express themselves – to take an opportunity when they see one,” he said.
Hookers Lead by vice captain Motu Matu’u, Manu Samoa’s hookers look solid. Matu’u played in the 2015 RWC, and has been part of the team every year since. Matuu brings super rugby experience and is backed up by Seilala Lam who plays his rugby with Perpignan, France and Raymond Niuia of the Otago Highlanders.
Locks Only 3 locks have been named in the Manu Samoa World Cup squad. Twin towers from the north and south hemispheres – Kane Leaupepe of Super Rugby’s Hurricanes and Teofilo Paulo of London Irish in England will be Samoa’s specialist locks. Newcomer Senio Toleafoa, 25, plays for Nevers in France. The Australian born managed to play U20s for both Samoa and Australia.
Midfield Rey Lee-Lo will go to his 2nd World Cup for Samoa joined in the mid-field by Alapati Leiua. Known to Manu Samoa fans as a former Wellington Hurricane, Alapati Leiua played 5 years of Super Rugby for the Hurricanes before signing a European contract and choosing Manu Samoa over possible All Blacks selection. Leiua and Lee-Lo have built quite a combination over the years. Former Crusaders midfield Kieron Fonotia first joined the Manu in 2017 as did Henry Taefu. Taefu plays centre for Western Force and will be going to his first World Cup campaign.
The Manu Samoa gets a final hit out against Australia in Syndey this weekend before the Rugby World cup where they face Russia, Scotland, Japan and Ireland in Pool A.
GAME 1: Tue 24 Sep 2019 @7:15pm – Russia vs Manu Samoa – Kumagaya Rugby Stadium.
GAME 2: Mon 30 Sep 2019 @7:15pm – Scotland vs Manu Samoa – Kobe Misaki Stadium.
GAME 3: Sat 05 October 2019 @7:30pm – Japan vs Manu Samoa – City of Toyota Stadium.
GAME 4: Sat 12 October 2019 @7:45pm – Ireland vs Manu Samoa – Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium.