PNC- Samoa to play new rugby as we know it.
Manu Samoa flies out to Fiji well satisfied it has the squad and game plan to win its first Pacific Six Nations outing.Tuala Niko Palamo, in his first test as Head Coach for Manu Samoa says, “We basically know what Fiji’s going to throw at us so we’ve picked a team that has the ability to counter Fiji’s strengths and exploit weaknesses. The game plan we’ll showcase in Lautoka will be different. That’s all I can say except that the public will see some things for the first time in rugby. It’ll be an exciting brand of rugby.
“I’m happy with where our team preparation is at. We have a good mix of experienced forwards and some new faces and attitude in an exciting young backline.” Rugged international forwards Mahonri Schwalger and Census Johnson lead a tight five packed full of muscle complemented by experienced loosies Semo Sititi and Filipo Levi. The backline will not be short on pace with wingers David Lemi and Esera Lauina amongst the quickest in world rugby.
“Keep a lookout for second-five eighth Samasoni Moala”, warns Palamo. “He has the potential to be a world class inside back with his strength and off-loading skills.”
The squad contains 15 locally-based players and nine from overseas including Sitaleki Lu’au who played for Pacific Rugby Cup champions Tautahi Gold. Competition for positions will intensify after the Fiji game with players involved in iRB Sevens circuit like Lolo Lui, Alafoti Fa’osiliva, Reupena Levasa, Uale Mai making themselves available for Manu Samoa selection. “Our aim for 2008 is to maintain our position as the Top Pacific nation in the Six Nations Tournament. That means holding off Tonga, Fiji and Japan. We have the players to knock off the NZ Maoris and Australia A as well but we’ll maintain a level of realistic expectation but if we perform above that level, we’ll take it and would have earned it”, concludes Tuala.
The game against Fiji on 7 June kicks off at 2:05pm local time at Churchill Park, Lautoka.
Manu Samoa squad: Faafili Henry, Faamatuainu Johnathan, Johnson Census, Lauina Esera, Lavea-Levi Filipo, Lemi David, Lu'au Sikaleti, Moala Samasoni, Muliufi Salanoa, Salima Gasolo, Sasulu Bell, Sasulu Neli, Schwalger Mahonori, Sititi Semo, Slade Chad, Stowers Raymond, Stowers George, Tafunai Loleni, Tauafao Notise, Tea Heroshi, Telea Evile. Management: Tuala Niko Palamo (Head Coach), Fepuleai Selefuti Patu (A/coach), Paepaetele Stan Toomalatai (A/coach), Ryan Schuster (Manager), Megan Lupe (Physiotherapist), Aiolupotea Taufusi Salesa (Technical Advisor).