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Manu Samoa squad named for Barbarians clash at Twickenham

By AAP
(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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Manu Samoa has announced its squad to take on the Barbarians at Twickenham in London for the Killik Cup on November 27.

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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 Barbarians’ fixture is the only match to be played from the cancelled end-of-year tour of Europe due to Covid-19 restrictions. Mapusua and his permanent staff were unable to travel, prompting the selection of the coaching and management staff from up north to lead the team.

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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 the match presents a great opportunity for up-and-coming talents such as fly-half AJ Alatimu, to command the game at this level.

Mapusua 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.

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“Congratulations to everyone on their selection,” the head coach said.

“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.”

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The Manu Samoa squad is as follows:

Hookers: John Ulugia
Props: Aki Seiuli, Michael Alaalatoa, Paul Alo-Emile (c), Sakaria Taulafo, Viliamu Afatia
Locks: Benjamin Nee-Nee, Joe Tekori, Mikaele Tapili, Salo Tutaia, Senio Toleafoa
Loose forwards: Afaesetiti Amosa, Mathew Luamanu, Tala Gray
Scrum-halves: Reece Anapu
Fly-halves: AJ Alatimu
Midfield: Alexander Luatua, Aviata Silago, Nigel Hunt, Opetera Peleseuma, Taiso Silafai Leaana
Outside backs: Elijah Niko, JJ Taulagi, Sinoti Sinoti

Staff:

Lemalu Tusi Pisi (Co-coach), Census Johnston (Co-coach), Terry Fanolua (TA), Kane Thompson (TA), Niuafolau Faautu Talapusi (Team Manager)

– Lakapi Samoa

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