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Twickenham Baa Baas solution sought as Samoa cancel Autumn tour

By Paul Smith
Samoa have cancelled their autumn tour (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Samoa’s scheduled autumn tour has been cancelled due to Governmental health and travel advice relating to COVID-19.

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This means their visit to Georgia on November 6 plus subsequent games with Uruguay and Spain will not take place.

However, although the full Samoan national team will not face the Barbarians at Twickenham, it seems likely that “a Manu Samoa selection” will instead take the field.

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This November 27 clash will, according to the Lakapi Samoa press release, “involve Europe-based players and coaches.”

Sources suggest that upwards of 30,000 tickets are already sold for this game in which Australian star Quade Cooper plus Springboks Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx and Duane Vermeulen plus the Pumas’ Pablo Matera are reported to be appearing for the Baa Baas.

Lakapi Samoa CEO Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai said the Board was left with little option.

“Lakapi Samoa was not able to guarantee the safety of any of our players and management whilst on campaign and the current State of Emergency measures by the Government restricts the return of anyone within six months of contacting the virus,” he said.

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“This was a major obstacle to keep our borders safe. We do accept the implications and scale of consequences the pandemic can have to our small country with limited resources.”

Head coach Seilala Mapusua said health considerations had to come first.

“It’s disappointing and really tough for our players, fans and our hosting Unions,” he said.

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“As head coach, our performance and reputation to our brand is severely hampered if we cannot get our team together.

However, the safety and well-being of protecting Samoa from the current Covid-19 variant pandemic was ultimately the right call.”

Samoa defeated Tonga in July to secure their spot in the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The Samoan Sevens team has also pulled out of the upcoming World Rugby Sevens Series legs in Dubai.

They last competed at the Olympic Qualifying tournament in June and had already opted to skip the recent World Series tournaments in Vancouver and Edmonton because of the pandemic.

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