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Manu Samoa name 13 New Zealand-based players in squad to face Maori All Blacks and Tonga

By Alex McLeod

Trending on RugbyPass

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13 New Zealand-based players, including five from club rugby, have been named in the latest Manu Samoa squad to face the Maori All Blacks and Tonga in June and July.

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Announcing his squad on Friday, Manu Samoa head coach Seilala Mapusua named Crusaders prop Michael Alaalatoa has the national captain.

Alaalatoa will be joined by a further six Super Rugby players based out of New Zealand and Australia, while there are four Samoan-based players.

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In total, the squad is represented by players plying their club trade in eight different countries – Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, England, Scotland, France and the United States.

There are also 13 new caps that have been named in the squad, including Glasgow Warriors prop Aki Seiuli, Counties Manukau duo Sam Slade and Kalolo Tuiloma, Melbourne Rebels hooker Albert Anae, Highlanders injury reserve Neria Fomai, former Waratahs hooker JP Sauni and ex-schoolboy star Losi Filipo.

The selections of those players will alleviate the absence of some European-based Samoan stars, such as Chris Vui of Bristol and Clermont’s Tim Nanai-Williams, due to travel and quarantine restrictions caused by COVID-19.

Mapusua said the upcoming tests, which includes a 2023 World Cup qualifier series against Tonga, is vital for Samoa in what will be the country’s first test appearances since the 2019 World Cup.

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“This is a very important initial campaign for us playing the qualifier against Tonga and also privileged to play the Maori All Blacks as lead up to the qualifier,” he said.

“This will be my first campaign and considering the impacts of COVID-19 it wasn’t an easy task selecting the Manu. However, I am very confident we have the best players to represent the jersey and earn us a spot for Rugby World Cup 2023.”

Manu Samoa will kick their mid-season internationals off on June 26 when they face the Maori All Blacks in Wellington, who they will play again as part of a double-header with the All Blacks and Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on July 3.

Mapusua’s side will then play their first World Cup qualifier clash with Tonga in Auckland on July 10, before meeting their Pacific neighbours again on July 17 as part of another double-header with the All Blacks and Fiji at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton on July 17.

Manu Samoa squad to play Maori All Blacks and Tonga

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Ah See Tuala – Northampton Saints

AJ Alatimu – Seattle Seawolves

Aki Seiuli* – Glasgow Warriors

Alamanga Motuga – Counties Manukau

Albert Anae* – Melbourne Rebels

Auvasa Falealii – Papatoetoe, New Zealand

Ben Nee Nee – Kamaisihi Seawolves

D’Angelo Leuila – Fraser Tech, New Zealand

Dwayne Polataivao – Pakuranga, New Zealand

Elisapeta Alofipo* – Tama Uli Salelologa

Henry Stowers – Brumbies

Henry Taefu – Western Force

Jack Lam – NEC Green Rockets

Joe Perez* – Laulii Lions

John Vaili – Aana Chiefs

JP Sauni* – Associates, Australia

Kalolo Tuiloma* – Counties Manukau

Losi Filipo* – Bay of Plenty

Michael Alaalatoa (c) – Crusaders

Neria Formai* – Hawke’s Bay

Olajuwon Noa* – Hunter Wildfires, Australia

Ray Niuia – Blues

Rodney Yona – Brumbies

Sam Slade* – Counties Manukau

Seilala Lam – Perpignan

Stacey Ili – Melbourne Rebels

Teofilo Paulo – Avalon, New Zealand

Theodore McFarland* – Moamoa Roosters

Tietie Tuimauga* – Manawatu

TJ Ioane – Glasgow Warriors

Tomasi Alosio* – Hutt Old Boys Marist, New Zealand

* – indicates an uncapped player

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Manu Samoa name 13 New Zealand-based players in squad to face Maori All Blacks and Tonga

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