Manu Samoa announces squad to face the Barbarians in Twickenham
Manu Samoa has announced its squad to take on the Barbarians at Twickenham in London for the Killik Cup on November 27.
Manu Samoa Head Coach, Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua has assembled a well-balanced team from the Northern Hemisphere, to represent their country in what should be a tough and thrilling match.
The Barbarian's fixture is the only match to be played from the cancelled end-of-year tour of Europe due to Covid-19 restrictions. Vaovasamanaia and his permanent staff were unable to travel, prompting the selection of the coaching and management staff from up North to lead the team.
The team features a balanced mix of young and experienced players to face a robust and world class Baa-baas team. Some of the selected players will make their swansong appearances including veteran forward Joe Tekori, who has contributed immensely to the team over the years and currently still playing top level rugby in France. He is joined by Sakaria Taulafo currently playing at Rugby United New York in the United States, Viliamu Afatia, playing in France, and Sinoti Sinoti who has been a UK fan favourite in his recent stint with the Newcastle Falcons.
The team also features ten players making their debut, and a great opportunity for up and coming talents such as fly half AJ Alatimu, to command the game at this level.
Vaovasamanaia is working virtually on preparations with the team, and will be cheering on from his home in Samoa and excited for what will be a thriller of a performance.
"Congratulations to everyone on their selection." Said Vaovasamanaia.
"We are under no illusions at the enormity of the task ahead in our match against the Barbarians. I do believe we have selected a well-balanced, exciting group of players who have a great opportunity to add to the rich history of Barbarians matches.
"I am excited for the management group and players for the opportunity to play at HQ and also for our supporters and fans that Manu Samoa gets to take the field for the last international match of 2021." He added.
The Manu Samoa team is as follows:
Afaesetiti Amosa - Vailele & Fasitoo-tai - Aviron Bayonnais, France
AJ Alatimu - Avao - Seattle Seawolves, USA
Aki Seiuli - Pata, Falelatai & Sapunaoa - Dragons Rugby, Wales
Alexander Luatua - Saleimoa - Rouen Normandie Rugby, France
Aviata Silago - Salelesi & Solosolo - USON Nevers Rugby, France
Benjamin Nee-Nee - Lalomanu & Salesatele - Kamaishi Seawaves, Japan
Elijah Niko - Tafitoala & Alafua - Stade Aurilac, France
JJ Taulagi - Saleimoa & Matatufu - Racing Club Narbonnais, France
Joe Tekori - Vailele & Asau - Stade Toulousain, France
John Ulugia - Saleimoa & Faleula - Aviron Bayonne, France
Mathew Luamanu - Siumu - Merthyr RFC, Wales
Michael Alaalatoa - Fasitoo-uta & Apia - Leinster Rugby, Ireland
Mikaele Tapili - Leulumoega Tuai & Falefa - CAP Périgueux, France
Nigel Hunt - Vaitoloa & Satuiatua - Sporting Club Royannais, France
Opetera Peleseuma - Manono-tai & Falelatai - Rouen Normandie Rugby, France
Paul Alo-Emile - Falefa & Leulumoega (Captain) - Stade Français Paris, France
Reece Anapu - Vaigaga - Western Force, Australia
Sakaria Taulafo - Asau & Amaile - Rugby United New York, USA/ Sporting Club Graulhetois, France
Salo Tutaia - Nofoalii & Lefaga - Merthyr RFC, Wales
Senio Toleafoa - Fasitoo-tai & Nofoalii - North Harbour, New Zealand
Sinoti Sinoti - Manono & Pata, Falelatai - Northern United
Taiso Silafai Leaana - Saanapu - Sporting Club Albigeous, France
Tala Gray - Vailoa, Palauli & Nofoalii - Stade Francais Paris, France
Viliamu Afatia - Salelavalu & Vaiala - Sporting Club Albigeois, France
Lemalu Tusi Pisi - Toamua & Safatoa, Lefaga (Co-Coach)
Census Johnston - Lalomanu & Falevao (Co-Coach)
Terry Fanolua - Solosolo & Saleimoa (TA)
Kane Thompson - Apia (TA)
Niuafolau Faautu Talapusi - Vaiala & Fasitoo-uta (Team Manager)
(Nb - An additional player will be added to the squad.)