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Samoan prop's distress reveals human side of Barbarians cancellation

By Paul Smith
Samoa show appreciation to their fans after the cancellation of their match during the Killik Cup match between Barbarians and Samoa at Twickenham Stadium (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians)

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Since the Barbarians were forced to cancel Saturday’s planned clash with Samoa plenty of opinions have been voiced regarding the manner and timing of the decision.

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However, while high-profile pundits including Jonathan Davies and Dylan Hartley have incurred the wrath of Baa Baas president John Spencer – himself a former England international – it has taken a series of social media posts from Samoa prop Paul Alo-Emile to offer a Samoan perspective.

In seven tweets the 29-year-old Stade Francais front-rower expressed how much the loss of the prestigious fixture meant to the Pacific Island visitors before going on to emphasise that the match represented much more than an exhibititon.

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Samoa pre-match
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Samoa pre-match

“I’m pretty gutted and disappointed with the outcome of our game for Samoa,” he wrote.

“I saw a lot of guys get presented their blue jersey for the first time and saw how much it meant to them.

“So many tears of joy and pride were shed at our jersey presentation, with so much excitement leading up to our game, only to be concluded with us receiving news in the Twickenham changing rooms that our game was cancelled.

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“This jersey represents so much more than just some material we wear on our backs. It represents our families and our small nation. It represents the huge sacrifice our parents and grandparents went through just so we could live a better life.

“Because of them I was able to grow up in Australia, where I am proud to call my home. Representing Manu Samoa is our way of giving back and acknowledging our family. It represents a small country on a world stage, and that is why I put this jersey on.

“Trust me when I saw there is not a whole lot of financial gain from this, but just the love for the jersey and for the country that gave birth to my parents.

“It hurt so much also to see Joe Tekori not get the send-off he deserved. What he does for our team culture is incredible.

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“The players and staff did everything we could to respect the game and prepare the best way possible. We were also respectful of the guidelines given to us to ensure that this game would move forward.

“I can understand to a lot of people, this was an exhibition game and perhaps didn’t mean much, but to us, it meant everything.”

Alo-Emile then signed off “Alofa atu to our usos, and alofa atu to our aiga and beloved country” before adding a Samoan flag.

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